nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2023‒02‒06
three papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. The Impact of Uncertainty on Fan Interest Surrounding Multiple Outcomes in Open European Football Leagues By Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio; J. James Reade
  2. The Effect of the Initial Distribution of Labor-Related Property Rights on the Allocative Efficiency of Labor Markets By Helmut Dietl; Markus Lang; Johannes Orlowski; Philipp Wegelin
  3. Health Wearables, Gamification, and Healthful Activity By Muhammad Zia Hydari; Idris Adjerid; Aaron D. Striegel

  1. By: Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio (Department of Economics, Universidad de Navarra); J. James Reade
    Abstract: We introduce a new source of information to evaluate the importance of uncertainty in driving demand for particular types of entertainment events. We use web searches via Google, and consider various dimensions of uncertainty of outcome in sporting events. Most saliently, we consider whether the complete removal of uncertainty surrounding the winner of a competition, something that often happens before European soccer leagues have completed, reduces interest. We find that the decrease in interest is significant, but that it is mitigated by increased interest in secondary prizes in these league competitions: qualification for European competitions, and avoiding relegation. We conclude by affirming that such a diversified structure of competition, replete with an open structure of promotion and relegation, is desirable in the context of league competitions such as those in Europe that do not have a proment play-off system to conclude the season.
    Keywords: global sports, outcome certainty; Google trends; competitions’ multiple prizes; event analysis
    JEL: J24 J33 J71
    Date: 2023–01–11
  2. By: Helmut Dietl (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich); Markus Lang (Institute of Sport Sciences, University of Lausanne); Johannes Orlowski (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich); Philipp Wegelin (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lucerne School of Business)
    Abstract: We conduct an empirical study to examine the impact of the initial distribution of labor-related property rights on the allocative efficiency of labor markets for skilled workers in a highly competitive labor market (professional basketball). Specifically, we compare a regime where employers can trade workers to other employers without the worker's consent to one where workers have the right to negotiate freely with other employers and move without their employer's consent. Our results indicate that contrary to the predictions of the Coase Theorem, allocative efficiency decreases when workers have the initial right to negotiate freely and move to another employer.
    Keywords: Coase theorem, labor market, allocative efficiency, productivity, sports as a lab
    JEL: E24 J01 J21 L83
    Date: 2023–01
  3. By: Muhammad Zia Hydari; Idris Adjerid; Aaron D. Striegel
    Abstract: Health wearables in combination with gamification enable interventions that have the potential to increase physical activity -- a key determinant of health. However, the extant literature does not provide conclusive evidence on the benefits of gamification, and there are persistent concerns that competition-based gamification approaches will only benefit those who are highly active at the expense of those who are sedentary. We investigate the effect of Fitbit leaderboards on the number of steps taken by the user. Using a unique data set of Fitbit wearable users, some of whom participate in a leaderboard, we find that leaderboards lead to a 370 (3.5%) step increase in the users' daily physical activity. However, we find that the benefits of leaderboards are highly heterogeneous. Surprisingly, we find that those who were highly active prior to adoption are hurt by leaderboards and walk 630 fewer steps daily after adoption (a 5% relative decrease). In contrast, those who were sedentary prior to adoption benefited substantially from leaderboards and walked an additional 1, 300 steps daily after adoption (a 15% relative increase). We find that these effects emerge because sedentary individuals benefit even when leaderboards are small and when they do not rank first on them. In contrast, highly active individuals are harmed by smaller leaderboards and only see benefit when they rank highly on large leaderboards. We posit that this unexpected divergence in effects could be due to the underappreciated potential of noncompetition dynamics (e.g., changes in expectations for exercise) to benefit sedentary users, but harm more active ones.
    Date: 2023–01

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