The Effects of Competition Outcomes on Health: Evidence from the Lifespans of U.S. Olympic Medalists

34 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2017

Date Written: September 20, 2017

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of competition outcomes on health by using U.S. Olympic medalist lifespans and medal colors as a natural experiment. Whereas the life expectancies of bronze and gold medalists do not differ significantly, life expectancy of silver medalists is about 2.4 and 3.9 years less than these former, respectively. These findings are readily explainable by insights from behavioral economics, psychology, and human biology, which suggest that (perceived) dissatisfactory competition outcomes may adversely affect health. Competition outcomes that affect socioeconomic status (SES) could, therefore, play an important causal role in the positive SES-health gradient among the general population.

JEL Classification: C41, D03, I14, Z2

Suggested Citation

Kalwij, Adriaan, The Effects of Competition Outcomes on Health: Evidence from the Lifespans of U.S. Olympic Medalists (September 20, 2017). CESR-Schaeffer Working Paper No. 2017-006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3040283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3040283

Adriaan Kalwij (Contact Author)

Utrecht University ( email )

Janskerkhof 12
Utrecht, 3512 BL
Netherlands

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