Call for Papers: Rassegna di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport


Italian journal Rassegna di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport is producing a special issue on ‘Development in Sports Economics’. The details can be found here. For those in the academic sports economics community who might have an appropriate paper to submit, you can send your submission to Dimitri Paolini (Università di Sassary & Université Catholique de Louvain) at: before Saturday 28 February.

Lead Article of Volume in ‘Journal of Sports Economics’


There was a nice surprise yesterday, when I discovered that my latest published article – in the Journal of Sports Economics – has been assigned as the lead article of this year’s volume (16). Signals seem to be mixed on whether this actually means anything in terms of esteem or quality judgements, but a well-known empirical regularity is that lead articles do tend to get more citations other things being equal (see, for example, Coupé, Ginsburgh and Noury, 2010, in Oxford Economic Papers), so here’s hoping.

The article itself adjusts win percentages of NFL teams to account for strength of schedule, prior to calculating standard measures of competitive balance. I find that the adjustment makes the NFL (already considered the epitome of competitive balance) look even more balanced. For the record, the details are as follows:

Lenten, L. J. A. (2015), “Measurement of Competitive Balance in Conference and Divisional Tournament Design”, Journal of Sports Economics, 16(1), 3-25.

You can view the abstract here, and e-mail me if you would like a copy.

H-Index Boost!


According to Scopus, my h-index has just hit the heady heights of…wait for it…4. Curiously, my hInorm-index (explanation of numerous common impact metrics here) also becomes 4 simultaneously. According to Harzing’s Publish or Perish, the analogous numbers come in at 9 and 6, respectively. If I was a UK astronomer, I’d surely still be kicking around in Sunday League. However, I’d like to think that these numbers are quite respectable within my own cohort (incomparable across disciplines for numerous reasons). Unrequited thanks to Egon Franck and Marcus Lang for the citation that pushed me over the line.

More on Penalty Shoot-out Alternative


Following on from my post on 2 July, I had another newspaper piece in the Australian Financial Review (today, Tuesday 15 July), called: “GOAL! A Better Alternative to Penalty Shootouts“. The link is gated as usual (see p.43 of the hard copy if you have it, or e-mail me a request). It further delineates the economic case for shifting the penalty shoot-out to before extra-time.

Brazil 0, Economics 2


My work on the Brazil myth and a general description of my research profile is in the newspapers again. This time, discussed in this piece by Peter Martin: “Can Soccernomics Save the Socceroos?“, which appeared in The Sunday Age two days ago (15 June). The online version is linked (p.35 in hard copy).

UPDATE: Brazil held to a goalless draw in the second match of group phase by none other than their bogey-team, México (as indicated in my earlier Australian Financial Review piece)! How, you may ask? The myth tells us that México not scoring early circumvented having Brazil run up a cricket score against them – hats off to the insightful tactics of master coach, Miguel Herrera.

Brazil 0, Economics 1


My piece: “Economics Lends Little Support to the Socceroos” appeared in today’s Australian Financial Review (Thursday 12 June). Link gated; but it is on p.43 of the hard copy if you have access to that. I draw an analogy between the optimal tactics for beating Brazil at the World Cup and upstaging a larger business rival in industry.

The abstract of the original 2012 journal article from Applied Economics Letters on which it is based can be found here.

UPDATE: Brazil wins the tournament opener 3-1 after Croatia failed to heed the myth and opened the scoring on 11′ (albeit through an own-goal). By admission, while on paper it looks like a substantiation of the myth, on the balance of play it was anything but!

Last-Place Aversion: Call for Interest


I recently came across the paper: ‘“Last-Place Aversion”: Evidence and Redistributive Implications‘, published recently in Quarterly Journal of Economics. The headline result poses a nice analogous hypothesis for sports leagues: do teams close to the bottom of the standings increase their effort so as not to finish last (presuming no perverse incentive to finish bottom, such as top draft pick)? Correspondence I had with the lead author, Ilyana Kuziemko, confirmed that this could be an interesting field experiment to follow their lab-setting results – she said that her and her collaborators had thought of using sports data, but noted that of the leagues that they look at, draft and/or promotion/relegation pose obvious problems.

I can think of leagues where neither of these policies act as a fly in the ointment. Is there anyone out there in the sports economics community interested in teaming up with me on this one?