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Who Wins The Olympic Games: Economic Development and Medal Totals

By Andrew B. Bernard and Meghan R. Busse

Abstract

This paper examines determinants of Olympic success at the country level. Does the U.S. win its fair share of Olympic medals? Why does China win 6% of the medals even though it has 1/5 of the world's population? We consider the role of population and economic development in determining medal totals from 1960-1996. We also provide out of sample predictions for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

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