An engaging look at the ways economic thinking can help us understand how sports work both on and off the field
“Mr. Oyer writes clearly and ranges across all sorts of sports as well as across the globe, introducing fascinating observations.”—Henry D. Fetter, Wall Street Journal
Are ticket scalpers good for teams? Should parents push their kids to excel at sports? Why do Koreans dominate women’s golf, while Kenyans and Ethiopians dominate marathon racing? Why would Michael Jordan, the greatest player in basketball, pass to Steve Kerr for the game-winning shot?
Paul Oyer shows the many ways economics permeates the world of sports. His topics range from the business of sport to how great athletes use economic thinking to outsmart their opponents to why the world’s greatest sports powerhouse (at least per capita) is not America or China but the principality of Liechtenstein. Economics explains why some sports cannot stop the use of performance-enhancing drugs while others can, why hundred-million-dollar player contracts are guaranteed in baseball but not in football, how one man was able to set the world of sports betting on its ear—and why it will probably never happen again. This book is an entertaining guide to how a bit of economics can make you a better athlete and a more informed fan.
Paul Oyer is the Mary and Rankine Van Anda Entrepreneurial Professor, professor of economics, and senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Labor Economics. He lives in Stanford, CA.
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