Edited by Wolfgang Maennig and Andrew Zimbalist
Chapter 12: Doping and Anti-doping Measures
Nicolas Eber* 1 INTRODUCTION Doping is for at least one decade a hot topic in the economics of sports.1 The growing literature in the field is primarily theoretical since empirical investigation is obviously difficult to implement.2 Economists have applied their usual theoretical tools to analyze the decision by rational athletes whether or not to use performance-enhancing drugs and, then, to define the incentive mechanisms that could lead athletes to refrain from taking drugs. The economic decision to use drugs has two main features. First, it deals with an illicit action since it implies an infringement of the rules. Second, it is a strategic decision insofar as it is taken in a context of strategic interactions among a set of contestants. While a Beckerian, ‘crime economics’ approach focuses on the first aspect, the game-theoretic approach allows us to fully consider the second one.3 Although some authors have proposed interesting crime economics models (for example, Bourg, 2000; Maennig, 2002), the growing theoretical literature has mainly developed game-theoretic models.4 In this survey, we focus on the leading game-theoretic approach and discuss the relevance and the limits of the main results in the recent literature. We explain how the models identify the economic motivations and incentives for athletes to take drugs and we summarize the anti-doping measures that have been proposed. The key idea of the economic analysis of doping in sport is that athletes are typically involved in a prisoner’s dilemma-type interaction (Breivik, 1987; Bird and Wagner, 1997; Eber and Thépot, 1999;...
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