## Abstract

This study considers the performance of countries at the Olympic Games as a public

good and investigates different welfare optimal distributions of Olympic success.

First, it is argued that at the national level Olympic success, measured as the

number of gold medals won, meets the two key conditions of a public good, nonrivalry

and non-excludability. Second, it is demonstrated that standard income

inequality measures as the Lorenz curve and Atkinson’s measure can successfully be

applied to the distribution of Olympic success. Four different distributions are

considered: the actual distribution, the distribution according to population shares,

the distribution under constant and declining marginal utility of medals and the one

also taking production costs and declining marginal utility of per capita income into

account. For the latter two, the rules for the welfare optimal distributions are stated,

viz. equality of the marginal contributions to welfare and the Samuelson condition.

At the end, a device is proposed to make the distribution of Olympic success more

equitable.

good and investigates different welfare optimal distributions of Olympic success.

First, it is argued that at the national level Olympic success, measured as the

number of gold medals won, meets the two key conditions of a public good, nonrivalry

and non-excludability. Second, it is demonstrated that standard income

inequality measures as the Lorenz curve and Atkinson’s measure can successfully be

applied to the distribution of Olympic success. Four different distributions are

considered: the actual distribution, the distribution according to population shares,

the distribution under constant and declining marginal utility of medals and the one

also taking production costs and declining marginal utility of per capita income into

account. For the latter two, the rules for the welfare optimal distributions are stated,

viz. equality of the marginal contributions to welfare and the Samuelson condition.

At the end, a device is proposed to make the distribution of Olympic success more

equitable.

Original language | English |
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Place of Publication | Utrecht |

Publisher | UU USE Tjalling C. Koopmans Research Institute |

Number of pages | 30 |

Publication status | Published - 2007 |

### Publication series

Name | Discussion Paper Series / Tjalling C. Koopmans Research Institute |
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No. | 13 |

Volume | 07 |

ISSN (Electronic) | 2666-8238 |

## Keywords

- Olympic Games
- Public Goods
- Externalities
- Social Welfare