February 18, 2010
The Law & Economics of the Winter Olympics
Posted by Erik Gerding

I’ve been watching a lot of Winter Olympics with my six year old. I’ve developed an ambitious research agenda on the law and economics of the Winter Games and also thought about a few implications for scholarship:

1. Medal prediction model: I’ve developed the following complex model to predict the medal haul of each nation:

Medal count of a nation = 1/total medals * (gross annual production of cheese * gross winter sales of spandex + 1.34 * total male population named “Lars” or “Jan”).

How has the model done in predicting medals in past years? Wunderbar!

There have been a few kinks that need to be worked out. The model tends to under-predict the medal count of China and Korea. It also tends to predict too high of a medal count for Denmark, Metallica, and 80’s übershow Airwolf.

2. The Efficient Markets Hypothesis: In a surprising twist, the notes to Liechenstein’s national hymn, the Banksekretenlied, seem to predict that country’s stock market performance over the past year. But I am hesitant to publish my results for fear of no longer being invited to the Vaduz Junior Scholars Workshop next year.

3. Optimal Scholarship: It has been sobering to watch the games and realize that years of training by an elite athlete can all go down the tube based on tiny split second errors. Lesson learned: I make one Blue-Book error and I’m never going to teach at Oxford.

4. Training runs: I’ve also decided to videotape all of my workshop talks and invite commentators to give color analysis live. Here is an example:

“Gerding explodes out of the gate with his talk. Great, great form by the youngster. Oh, what a nice tight line he takes through the tricky methodology section. Picking up speed. Picking up speed.

Oh no! Disaster! He catches an inside edge trying to run through the Regressions. He’ll never catch Ron Gilson now. He’ll have to wait 4 more years to get another shot. You can just see the disappointment on his face.

At least he’ll get to keep the spandex.”

Cheese, Humor, Law & Economics, Legal Scholarship, Sports | Bookmark

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