Measuring competition in the Olympic Winter Games 1992-2014 using economic indices / Andreas Ch. Weber... [et al.]

Article

Weber, Andreas Ch.

Since the early 1990s, competition in the Olympic Winter Games has changed notably in terms of events contested and nations taking part. Despite, these changes, which are overseen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the number of medal-winning nations has remained relatively stable. As a first attempt to illustrate this issue on a discipline by discipline basis, economic techniques are used to examine the outcome of competition between 1992 and 2014. The purpose of this paper is to measure: market size; the number of competing nations; and the balance between competitive nations in six disciplines. Focusing on competitive balance, the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index is applied to measure the concentration of domination; while the Przeworski Index is used to quantify instability over time. Important changes are identified in biathlon (2010) and short track (2014). While the change in the former is consistent with the IOC’s substantial increase in biathlon events, the latter can be attributed to athletes changing their nationality. IOC policy-makers can benefit from this research as it provides a method by which to monitor competition in a discipline. This method provides the potential for evaluating the likely effects of governing the Olympic Games by increasing the number of events.

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