The economic determinants of the Olympic performance in communist and post-communist countries / Wladimir Andreff

Andreff, Wladimir

The chapter first reminds the statist model of sport, its overshooting Olympic performance, and reforms before its final collapse. Moving towards a market-compatible sport system during the transformational economic crisis was not without hindrances ending up into a hybrid sports industry. All these changes affected Olympic performance downwards. Econometric modelling explains all nations’ medal totals at Summer Olympic Games by GDP per capita, population, a host country effect, regional sport specialisation, and a political regime variable taking on board communist and post-communist specificity. A similar model is adapted to Winter Games by adding two variables, snow coverage and endowment in winter sports resorts. Both models provide a statistically significant explanation of how medal totals have evolved in post-communist nations. Used for forecasting, the Winter Olympics model enables checking the impact of doping on Olympic performance with a natural experiment at the 2014 Sochi Games.


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