Does relatedness drive the diversification of countries’ success in sports? / Louis Knuepling & Tom Broekel

Knuepling, Louis | Broekel, Tom

The sources of countries’ success in sporting events have been investigated for a long time. In addition to socioeconomic factors, sport specialization and competitive balance have been identified as impacting medal yields. Nevertheless, there remains little understanding of how countries become successful in sports they did not succeed in before. The authors argue that the concept of related diversification, which is particularly popular in Evolutionary Economic Geography, can also be applied to sports and can help to explain in which sports countries become successful. The authors substantiate our argument with an empirical study of the evolution of national medal portfolios covering 61 sports at the Olympic Summer Games between 1896 and 2016 using this framework.

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