The Economics of Corruption in Sports - The Special Case of Doping

30 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2014

See all articles by Eugen Dimant

Eugen Dimant

University of Pennsylvania; CESifo

Christian Deutscher

Bielefeld University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2014


Corruption in general and doping in particular are ubiquitous in both amateur and professional sports and have taken the character of a systematic threat. In creating unfair advantages, doping distorts the level playing field in sporting competition. With higher stakes involved, such distortions create negative externalities not only on the individual level (e.g. lasting health damages) but also frictions on the aggregate level (e.g. loss of media interest) and erode the principle of sports. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive literature overview of the individual drivers to dope, the concomitant detrimental effects and respective countermeasures. In explaining the athletes motivation to use performances enhancing drugs, we enrich the discussion by adapting insights from behavioral economics. These insights help to understand such an athletes decision beyond a clear-cut rationale but rather as a product of the interaction with the underlying environment. We stress that in order to ensure clean sports and fair competition, more sophisticated measurement methods have to be evolved and the respective data made publicly available in order to facilitate more extensive studies in the future. So far, the lack of data is alarming, especially in the area of elite sports where the stakes are high and doping has a substantial influence.

Keywords: Sports, Doping, Corruption, Countermeasures, Survey

JEL Classification: D73, K42, L83

Suggested Citation

Dimant, Eugen and Deutscher, Christian, The Economics of Corruption in Sports - The Special Case of Doping (December 1, 2014). Bielefeld Working Papers in Economics and Management No. 17-2014, Available at SSRN: or

Eugen Dimant (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States


CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5

Christian Deutscher

Bielefeld University ( email )

Universitätsstraße 25
Bielefeld, NRW 33613

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