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Are Sports Champions Also Anti-Epidemic Heroes? Quantitative Research on the Influence of Sports Champions’ Demonstration Effect on the COVID-19 Epidemic in China

Junpei Huang, Shanlang Lin, Xiaoli Hu and Ruofei Lin
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Junpei Huang: School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
Shanlang Lin: School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
Xiaoli Hu: International College of Football, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
Ruofei Lin: School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China

IJERPH, 2022, vol. 19, issue 4, 1-0

Abstract: What kind of role do sports champions play in the COVID-19 epidemic? Do they contribute to the mitigation of the epidemic by some pathway? In this paper, we empirically explore the influence and mechanism of the demonstration effect of sports champions upon the COVID-19 epidemic using COVID-19-related dataset of prefecture-level cities in China from 1 January 2020 to 17 March 2020. The two-way fixed effect model of econometrics is applied to estimate the result, the instrumental variable approach is adopted to address potential endogeneity issues, and socio-economic factors including public health measures, residents’ self-protection awareness, effective distance from Wuhan are also taken into consideration. The results show that the demonstration effect of champions in major sporting events increases the participation in physical exercise, which in turn reduces the possibility of being infected with the epidemic. An increase of one gold medal results in a 0.93% increase in the sports population, then leads to a 3.58% decrease in the cumulative case growth rate ( p < 0.01). Further, we find that the effect is greater in regions with developed economies and abundant sports resources. Interestingly, it is greater in regions with less attention to sports, which again confirms the role of the demonstration effect.

Keywords: COVID-19; demonstration effect; sports champion; physical exercise; mediating effect (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I I1 I3 Q Q5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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