The Contest for Olympic Success as a Public Good

  • Loek Groot


In this study it is demonstrated that standard income inequality measures, such as the Lorenz curve and the Gini index, can successfully be applied to the distribution of Olympic success. Olympic success is distributed very unevenly, with the rich countries capturing a disproportionately higher share compared to their world population share, which suggests that the Olympic Games do not provide a level playing field. The actual distribution of Olympic success is compared with alternative hypothetical distributions, among which are chosen the distribution according to population shares, the welfare optimal distribution under the assumption of zero government expenditures, and the non-cooperating Nash-Cournot distribution. By way of conclusion, a device is proposed to make the distribution of Olympic success more equitable.