nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2021‒08‒09
six papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. The Iron Curtain and Referee Bias in International Football By Dmitry Dagaev; Sofia Paklina; J. James Reade; Carl Singleton
  2. How big is home advantage at the Olympic Games? By Carl Singleton; J. James Reade; Johan Rewilak; Dominik Schreyer
  3. How Sensitive are Sports Fans to Unemployment? By J. James Reade; Jan van Ours
  4. Implementing the BBE Agent-Based Model of a Sports-Betting Exchange By Dave Cliff; James Hawkins; James Keen; Roberto Lau-Soto
  5. Optimal sports betting strategies in practice: an experimental review By Matej Uhr\'in; Gustav \v{S}ourek; Ond\v{r}ej Hub\'a\v{c}ek; Filip \v{Z}elezn\'y
  6. The Long-Term Effect of FIFA World Cup on Gender Gap in Education and Employment: Evidence from Vietnam By Nguyen, Cuong Viet; Tran, Anh Ngoc

  1. By: Dmitry Dagaev (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Sofia Paklina (National Research University Higher School of Economics); J. James Reade (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Carl Singleton (Department of Economics, University of Reading)
    Abstract: Using the assignment of referees to European international association football matches played between 2002 and 2016, we ask whether judgements were biased according to the legacy of the Cold War. Referees from post-communist states favoured teams from non-communist states, but there was no evidence of favouritism in the other direction. The out-group bias of referees born behind the Iron Curtain was more significant for less important decisions (e.g., yellow cards vs red cards). The bias was particularly large among referees from the former Soviet Union. It has also diminished over time, perhaps due to increased professionalism in European refereeing, or because memories of the Cold War era have diminished among active referees.
    Keywords: home advantage, social pressure, international relations, sports economics
    JEL: D91 F59 Z20
    Date: 2021–08–02
  2. By: Carl Singleton (Department of Economics, University of Reading); J. James Reade (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Johan Rewilak (Department of Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship, Aston University); Dominik Schreyer (Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung (WHU))
    Abstract: We revisit the magnitude of home advantage at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, looking back all the way to Athens in 1896. By comparing a host country’s success with their performances in previous and subsequent games, we find that home advantage has declined over time as participation and the diversity of competition have increased. Hosts of the Summer Olympics between 1988 and 2016 enjoyed a two-percentage-point boost in their shares of medals and finalists, compared with their performances overseas, in both men's and women's events. In this same contemporary period, the home advantage effect at the Winter Olympics was around fifty percent larger in men's events but non-existent in women's events. We also find evidence of significant performance spill overs on the previous and next Olympiads for countries when they hosted the Summer Games.
    Keywords: Attendance, Gender economics, Home bias, Major sport events, Olympic Games, Referee bias, Sports economics
    JEL: D91 L83 Z2
    Date: 2021–07–23
  3. By: J. James Reade (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Jan van Ours (Erasmus School of Economics, Tinbergen Institute)
    Abstract: We analyze attendance of professional football matches in England finding that it is related to unemployment over a very long period of time. More unemployment leads to lower attendances. Distinguishing between leagues, we find that the relationship is larger for lower leagues, i.e. attendance of lower quality football events are more sensitive to fluctuations in unemployment.
    Keywords: Stadium attendance, football, unemployment
    JEL: C23 Z21 D12
    Date: 2021–06–03
  4. By: Dave Cliff; James Hawkins; James Keen; Roberto Lau-Soto
    Abstract: We describe three independent implementations of a new agent-based model (ABM) that simulates a contemporary sports-betting exchange, such as those offered commercially by companies including Betfair, Smarkets, and Betdaq. The motivation for constructing this ABM, which is known as the Bristol Betting Exchange (BBE), is so that it can serve as a synthetic data generator, producing large volumes of data that can be used to develop and test new betting strategies via advanced data analytics and machine learning techniques. Betting exchanges act as online platforms on which bettors can find willing counterparties to a bet, and they do this in a way that is directly comparable to the manner in which electronic financial exchanges, such as major stock markets, act as platforms that allow traders to find willing counterparties to buy from or sell to: the platform aggregates and anonymises orders from multiple participants, showing a summary of the market that is updated in real-time. In the first instance, BBE is aimed primarily at producing synthetic data for in-play betting (also known as in-race or in-game betting) where bettors can place bets on the outcome of a track-race event, such as a horse race, after the race has started and for as long as the race is underway, with betting only ceasing when the race ends. The rationale for, and design of, BBE has been described in detail in a previous paper that we summarise here, before discussing our comparative results which contrast a single-threaded implementation in Python, a multi-threaded implementation in Python, and an implementation where Python header-code calls simulations of the track-racing events written in OpenCL that execute on a 640-core GPU -- this runs approximately 1000 times faster than the single-threaded Python. Our source-code for BBE is freely available on GitHub.
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Matej Uhr\'in; Gustav \v{S}ourek; Ond\v{r}ej Hub\'a\v{c}ek; Filip \v{Z}elezn\'y
    Abstract: We investigate the most popular approaches to the problem of sports betting investment based on modern portfolio theory and the Kelly criterion. We define the problem setting, the formal investment strategies, and review their common modifications used in practice. The underlying purpose of the reviewed modifications is to mitigate the additional risk stemming from the unrealistic mathematical assumptions of the formal strategies. We test the resulting methods using a unified evaluation protocol for three sports: horse racing, basketball and soccer. The results show the practical necessity of the additional risk-control methods and demonstrate their individual benefits. Particularly, we show that an adaptive variant of the popular ``fractional Kelly'' method is a very suitable choice across a wide range of settings.
    Date: 2021–07
  6. By: Nguyen, Cuong Viet; Tran, Anh Ngoc
    Abstract: The FIFA Soccer World Cups often happen within one month just before the national entrance exam to universities and colleges in Vietnam. Watching soccer matches can distract male students from their studies and reduce their probability to pass the exam. We find that Vietnamese men who had the university entrance exam during the FIFA Soccer World Cups tend to have a lower proportion of having a bachelor's degree. Exposure to World Cups also reduces the probability of having a formal job, a high-skilled job and management position for men. Using the exposure to World Cups as a natural shock for tertiary education, we find a large and positive effect of tertiary education on employment. It confirms the important role of education in reducing gender gap in employment.
    Keywords: Return to education,employment,gender gap,World Cup,Vietnam
    JEL: J16 J21 I25
    Date: 2021

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