Economic aspects of the structure and governance of competitive cycling
Larson, Daniel Joseph
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The sport of competitive cycling has received very little attention in the area of sports economics despite the fact that the sport contains structures particularly relevant to broader economic questions, and data is available for empirical inquiry. This dissertation first presents a review of the literature in sport economics and establishes that there are untapped economic research opportunities in the context of competitive cycling. A formal economic model of the coaching industry within the sport follows. Given the structural parameters that are consistent with stylized facts about the cycling industry, the model predicts that cyclists’ coaches will not be hired by sport organizations (cycling teams), and will instead be hired directly by the individual athletes. These predictions are compared to empirical data collected about current cycling coaches and they appear to be consistent with what is witnessed in practice. Finally, an empirical examination of cycling competition outcomes is included to address a contemporary policy concern, a rule banning two-way radios in the sport. The data gathered from 1436 professional cycling races suggests that the introduction of radio technology did not have a significant impact on flat event outcomes in terms of the likelihood of a breakaway success (LBS), but there was a significant change observed in the LBS for hilly competitions (α = 0.05). A closing discussion also illustrates the radio-policy topic’s relevance to current research in industrial organizational theory.