Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Economics of Corruption in Sports – The Special Case of Doping

Dimant, Eugen and Deutscher, Christian (2014): The Economics of Corruption in Sports – The Special Case of Doping.

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Abstract

Corruption in general and doping in particular are ubiquitous in both amateur and professional sports and have taken the character of a systemic threat. In creating unfair advantages, doping distorts the level playing field in sporting competition. With higher stakes involved, such distortions create negative externalities not only on the individual level (e.g. lasting health damages) but also frictions on the aggregate level (e.g. loss of media interest) and erode the principle of sports. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive literature overview of the individual drivers to dope, the concomitant detrimental effects and respective countermeasures. In explaining the athlete’s motivation to use performance enhancing drugs, we enrich the discussion by adapting insights from behavioral economics. These insights help to understand such an athlete’s decision beyond a clear-cut rationale but rather as a product of the interaction with the underlying environment. We stress that in order to ensure clean sports and fair competition, more sophisticated measurement methods have to be evolved and the respective data made publicly available in order to facilitate more extensive studies in the future. So far, the lack of data is alarming, especially in the area of elite sports where the stakes are high and doping has a substantial influence.

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