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Olympic participation and performance since 1896

Gerard Kuper () and Elmer Sterken ()

No 200104, CCSO Working Papers from University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research

Abstract: Abstract We analyze the decision to participate and Olympic performance at the country level. We use an unbalanced panel of 118 countries over 24 editions of the Olympic Summer Games. The main focus of the paper is on economic, geographic and demographic explanations of Olympic participation and success. We estimate the impact of income per capita, population size, home advantage, and institutional variables on participation and success rates. We present separate results for events before the Second World War and after. These results show that income is an important determinant of Olympic participation and success. Socialist countries send more athletes to the games and have more success in medal counts. The home advantage has become less prominent.

Date: 2001
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