Regulators and Redskins

22 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2009 Last revised: 16 Apr 2012

Bentley Coffey

Clemson University

Patrick A. McLaughlin

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Robert D. Tollison

Clemson University - Department of Economics; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: December 17, 2010

Abstract

We examine the correlation between federal government activity and the performance of the D.C. area's National Football League team, the Washington Redskins. We find a significantly positive, non-spurious, and robust correlation between the Redskins' winning percentage and the amount of federal government bureaucratic activity as measured by the number of pages in the Federal Register. Because the Redskins' performance is prototypically exogenous, we give this surprising result a causal interpretation. Drawing upon public choice theory and behavioral economics, we provide a plausible explanation for the causal mechanism: bureaucrats must make "logrolling" deals in order to expand their regulatory power, and a winning football team acts as a commonly shared source of joyous optimism to lubricate such negotiations. We do not find the same correlation when examining Congressional activity, which we attribute to legislator loyalty to their home state's team(s).

Keywords: regulation, regulations, NFL, regulators and sports, regulations and sports, stadium finance, public choice and sports

JEL Classification: K2, H1

Suggested Citation

Coffey, Bentley and McLaughlin, Patrick A. and Tollison, Robert D., Regulators and Redskins (December 17, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1349360 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1349360

Bentley Coffey (Contact Author)

Clemson University ( email )

101 Sikes Ave
Clemson, SC 29634
United States

Patrick A. McLaughlin

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
(703) 993-9670 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.patrickamclaughlin.com

Robert D. Tollison

Clemson University - Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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