nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2021‒06‒28
six papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. The Long-Run Effects of Sports Club Vouchers for Primary School Children By Jan Marcus; Thomas Siedler; Nicolas R. Ziebarth
  2. More Goals, Fewer Babies? On National Teams' Performance and Birth Rates By Fumarco, Luca; Principe, Francesco
  3. Competitive Balance in the National Hockey League after Unrestricted Free Agency and the Salary Cap By Lee, Travis
  4. Technological Change and Obsolete Skills: Evidence from Men’s Professional Tennis By Ian Fillmore; Jonathan Hall
  5. The Dynamics of Inattention in the (Baseball) Field By James E. Archsmith; Anthony Heyes; Matthew J. Neidell; Bhaven N. Sampat
  6. Do Women Give Up Competing More Easily? Evidence from Speedcubers By Fang, Chao; Zhang, Ernest; Zhang, Junfu

  1. By: Jan Marcus (Universität Hamburg, DIW Berlin); Thomas Siedler (University of Potsdam, DIW Berlin, IZA); Nicolas R. Ziebarth (Cornell University)
    Abstract: Starting in 2009, the German state of Saxony distributed sports club membership vouchers among all 33,000 third graders in the state. The policy’s objective was to encourage them to develop a long-term habit of exercising. In 2018, we carried out a large register-based survey among several cohorts in Saxony and two neighboring states. Our difference-in-differences estimations show that, even after a decade, awareness of the voucher program was significantly higher in the treatment group. We also find that youth received and redeemed the vouchers. However, we do not find significant short- or long-term effects on sports club membership, physical activity, overweightness, or motor skills.
    Keywords: physical activity, voucher, primary school, obesity, habit formation, objective health measures, school health examinations, windfall gains, crowding out, taxpayer subsidies
    JEL: I12 I14 I18 I28 I38 Z28 H71
    Date: 2021–06
  2. By: Fumarco, Luca (Tulane University); Principe, Francesco (Erasmus School of Economics)
    Abstract: Does national team performance boost birth rates? We compiled a unique dataset combining country-level monthly birth rates for 50 European countries, along 56 years, with measures of national teams' performance in 27 international football events. We find that an increase in national teams' performance in international cups is associated with a drop in birth rates nine months after the event. We hypothesize that these results might be explained by individuals' time allocation choices.
    Keywords: football, sporting events, time allocation, birth rates, fertility
    JEL: I10 J10 J11 J13
    Date: 2021–06
  3. By: Lee, Travis
    Abstract: In the large literature on issues related to competitive balance, studies tend to find no significant effect of structural changes. However in the National Hockey League, the introduction of unrestricted free agency in 1995 and a hard salary cap in 2005 might reasonably be expected to affect competitiveness. The present note measures between-season competitive balance as the correlation between the current and prior years’ winning percentages. The method is to regress winning percentage on lagged winning percentage and a set of controls. The finding is that competitive balance increased after unrestricted free agency and the salary cap were implemented.
    Keywords: National Hockey League, competitive balance, collective bargaining, unrestricted free agency, salary cap
    JEL: Z00
    Date: 2020–09–15
  4. By: Ian Fillmore (Washington University in St. Louis); Jonathan Hall (University of Toronto)
    Abstract: Technological innovation can raise the returns to some skills while making others less valuable or even obsolete. We study the effects of such skill-altering technological change in the context of men’s professional tennis, which was unexpectedly transformed by the invention of composite racquets during the late 1970s. We explore the consequences of this innovation on player productivity, entry, and exit. We find that young players benefited at the expense of older players and that the disruptive effects of the new racquets persisted over two to four generations.
    Keywords: technological change, human capital, tennis
    JEL: J24 O33 Z22
    Date: 2021–06
  5. By: James E. Archsmith; Anthony Heyes; Matthew J. Neidell; Bhaven N. Sampat
    Abstract: Recent theoretical and empirical work characterizes attention as a limited resource that decision-makers strategically allocate. There has been less research on the dynamic interdependence of attention: how paying attention now may affect performance later. In this paper, we exploit high-frequency data on decision-making by Major League Baseball umpires to examine this. We find that umpires not only apply greater effort to higher-stakes decisions, but also that effort applied to earlier decisions increases errors later. These findings are consistent with the umpire having a depletable ‘budget’ of attention. There is no such dynamic interdependence after breaks during the game (at the end of each inning) suggesting that even short rest periods can replenish attention budgets. We also find that an expectation of higher stakes future decisions leads to reduced attention to current decisions, consistent with forward-looking behavior by umpires aware of attention scarcity.
    JEL: D83 D84 D91
    Date: 2021–06
  6. By: Fang, Chao (Clark University); Zhang, Ernest (Hopkinton High School); Zhang, Junfu (Clark University)
    Abstract: We analyze a large sample of participants in mixed-gender Rubik's Cube competitions. Focusing on participants who barely made or missed the cut for the second round in a competition, we examine their likelihood of joining another competition in the future. We find a significant gender difference: Whereas boys are slightly discouraged by failing to qualify for the second round, girls are affected more and are more likely to give up forever. Furthermore, we find that this gender difference is most significant in countries with larger gender gaps in labor market outcomes.
    Keywords: gender gap, competition, Rubik's Cube
    JEL: D91 J16 L83
    Date: 2021–06

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