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Olympic Predictions

Jul 25, 2012 • Behavioral Economics, Developing Economies, Economic History, Macroeconomic Measurement, Thinking Economically, Uncategorized • 167 Views    No Comments

If you want to predict Olympic medal winners, you might look at economic data.

A report on the Olympics from Goldman Sachs suggests that nations with a superior economic growth environment will increase their share of Olympic gold medals in London. Quantifying political, macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions, macroeconomic stability, human capital and technology, Goldman compared economics and medals for multiple years.

Their results?

Predictably, developed nations win more. But also, for less developed nations, increasing per capita income means more medals as does being a host nation. Below you can see the boost predicted for the UK.

In addition, some sports correlate more closely to the economic variables than others. The Goldman researchers concluded that “canoeing, diving, fencing, swimming, table tennis,” equestrianism, gymnastics and wresting have an economic connection. By contrast, football, softball and triathlon have not.

Olympics Medal Statistics and Predictions from the Goldman Olympics Report

Country

GDP Size

By Rank

2011

Olympic

Medals

By Rank

Beijing

2008

Number of

Olympic

Gold Medals

Beijing

2008

Number of

Olympic

Gold Medals

Predictions

2012

USA

1

1

36

37

China

2

2

51

33

Japan

3

9

9

8

Germany

4

6

16

14

France

5

6

7

14

Brazil

6

13

3

6

UK

7

4

19

30

Italy

8

8

8

10

Russia

9

3

23

25

Canada

10

12

3

6

*Australia had 15 gold medals in 2008; 14 is the Goldman prediction for this year.

Fun to contemplate, the predictions vary. You might enjoy looking at the Goldman report, these WSJ predictions and this comparison of several. For another economic analysis of Olympic medal winners from a Colorado College professor, I suggest looking at Dan Johnson’s predictions.  And for per capita income data, this World Bank site is ideal. Finally, I wonder how much the euro zone fiscal turmoil has affected Olympic budgets. I have read that Greece’s Olympic spending has plummeted.

 

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