Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

A quick post, but it was too good to pass up!

On Wednesday we heard the news of the 8 women (4 doubles pairs) in Olympics badminton who have been disqualified from the women’s doubles competition, for “not using one’s best efforts to win”.

It turns out that all teams had already gotten into the quarter-finals but were attempting to lose their match so that they could manipulate the draw for the semi-finals. This is an example of ‘perverse incentives’ – defined as an incentive that has an unintended and undesirable result. In this case, because of the way the organisers had arranged the group stage, in a round-robin format rather than a knock-out format, the format together with how the previous matches had played out had created the perverse incentive of a better outcome for both teams with a loss.

More information on the situation can be found here.

In environmental economics, an example of a case of possible perverse incentives occurred when the European Commission introduced the EU-wide carbon-trading programme. In an allocation method called ‘grandfathering’, EU industries were allocated free CO2 permits based on their historical emissions to minimise any competitiveness loss against non EU companies not included in the scheme (and to help gain acceptance from industry), regardless of the efficiency of their process under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).  This could lead to an unintended outcome where companies who emit high amounts of carbon produce excessive carbon (through producing excessive output or running plants beyond their efficient life-time), in an effort to increase future allocations of CO2 permits so that they may sell these and make money off them [1].

For more reading on perverse incentives in sport, this webpage has a couple of interesting cases in football. I particularly enjoyed reading the second one about the 1994 Shell Caribbean Cup!

[1] Sato, M., Grubb, M., Kust, J. Chan, K. Korppoo, A. and Ceppi, P. 2007. Differentiation and dynamics of competitiveness impacts from the EU ETS.

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It’s been over a month since we have posted here which is too long. But we’ve had some new calves who’ve joined the pasture and lots more work to feed them. In August, we’ll have the London Olympics and holidays (not very long ones in this pasture).  So we’ll be back from September again (or earlier if there is something that really bugs us). In the meantime, here are a few summer reads for you:

  • Speaking of the Olympics, if you’re more technically minded you may be interested in this Stated Preference Analysis for an Impact Study on the Olympic Games carried out by eftec in 2004 as part of the London’s (obviously successful) bid to host this year’s Olympics. Even if you’re not technically minded, you might be interested enough to glance at the Executive Summary which details the UK population’s valuation of the intangible benefits and costs of the games.
  • If you were in Southern Ontario, you could have found out the value of the nature around you. We haven’t checked this in detail but we have rated it “pretty cool” in our professional opinion. This is exactly the kind of work we do and of course there are the obvious caveats (the app is unlikely to be able to generate values specifically tailored to specific areas due to the unique properties and relationships humans have with each area) but caveats aside, the app will be able to give people a rough idea of the value of their local environment and perhaps we need to learn from this to make our work more fun!
  • Although we’ve been quiet The Economist has managed some chatter for us – they’ve covered ecosystem services in their Science pages. Let’s hope that after the summer we’ll make it to the main pages, and preferably with better referencing than the 1997 Costanza paper (famously quoted as being “a serious underestimate of infinity”).
  • Unfortunately, it’s not all been good news…. following 2 years of very little rain we’ve had a depressingly (and record-breaking) wet ‘summer’ in London until about three days ago and as if that’s not bad enough, it looks like it may be the early signs of a changing climate, which is making extreme weather events more likely.

With such a wide selection we hope you’ve found something that interests you in our absence, but of course if you really miss us or if you’re inspired to comment on any of the above topics you’re always welcome to Moo with us here!

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