Participation and Professional Team Sports
New Horizons in the Economics of Sport series
Edited by Wladimir Andreff
Chapter 3: Relational Goods at Work! Crime and Sport Participation in Italy: Evidence from Panel Data Regional Analysis over the Period 1997–2003
Raul Caruso INTRODUCTION The conventional wisdom about sport participation takes for granted that a beneficial impact of sport on society is predictable. The Commission of the European Union, for example, in 2007 released a White Paper on sport which emphasizes the beneficial impact of sport on society.1 The White Paper defines ‘sport’ as ‘all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels’. The White Paper highlights some specific benefits: (i) public health through physical activity; (ii) reinforcement of human capital thanks to development of knowledge, motivation, skills and readiness for personal effort; and (iii) active citizenship, social inclusion and integration. In brief, sport seems to enhance both individual and social well-being. However, the White Paper also highlights the importance and peculiarities of the professional sport industry, so stressing also the direct positive impact of sport on economic growth. Clearly, the White Paper rests to a large extent upon the conventional idea that sport is beneficial for society. However, this is a modern idea. In ancient and medieval societies, for example, sport was considered the peacetime occupation of the nobles, whose main business was war. Sport participation 43 M2464 - ANDREFF PRINT.indd 43 03/12/2010 14:48 44 Contemporary issues in sports economics was not interpreted as enjoyment or leisure. It was ancillary to the training for war. This example clarifies why I am concerned with the modern conventional...