Source: Research Papers in Economics
We use data from the National Basketball Association (NBA) to analyze the impact of minimum salaries on an employee’s career length. The NBA has a salary structure in which the minimum salary a player can receive increases with the player’s years of experience. Salary schedules similar to the NBA’s exist in public education, federal government agencies, the Episcopalian church, and unionized industries. Even though the magnitude of the salaries in the NBA differs from other industries, this study provides insight to the impact of this type of salary structure on career length. Using duration analysis, we find statistically significant evidence that minimum salaries shorten career length.
Performance evaluation of Tour de France cycling teams using Data Envelopment Analysis (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics
This paper uses a robust (order-m) Data Envelopment Analysis approach to evaluate the efficiency of Tour de France cycling teams for the period 2007- 2011. Since there are multiple ways in which this event can be successful for a cycling team, we take it that managers face strategic input decisions regarding team and rider characteristics. Specifically, we distinguish between ranking teams, sprint teams, and mixed teams, and compute for each of these an efficiency score as due to the team’s performance relative to similarly classified teams and an efficiency score that is the consequence of the team type. We find that ranking teams are generally more efficient than other types.
Celebrate safely – ABI publishes guide on organising street parties and other events
Source: Association of British Insurers
With over 3,500 applications made so far to local authorities alone for street parties to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this year looks set to be a bumper year for celebrations. To help party organisers ensure that events run smoothly, whether on public or private land or in your own home, the ABI has produced a guide.
‘Celebrate – An ABI guide to planning an event’ sets out what party organisers need to know, including:
- Things to consider about your venue, such as is it safe for the number of people you expect, are outdoor activities involved, such as bouncy castles, and what fire aid will be available.
- If planning a street party, steps you need to take, including contacting your local council.
- Any requirements for public liability insurance and how this cover can help party organisers protect against things that could go wrong.
New CPSC Data Show Child Drownings In Pools and Spas Still A Leading Cause of Death
Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission
Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) kicked off the summer swimming season and the third year of the Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign.
This year, Pool Safely’s focus is on populations most at risk of drowning, including children younger than 5 years old who represent nearly 75 percent of child drowning fatalities and African American and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14 who drown at higher rates than white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data from USA Swimming indicates that 70 percent of African American children and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, making them especially vulnerable populations.
New statistics released by CPSC today include:
- An annual average of 390 pool or spa-related drownings for children younger than 15 occurred from 2007 to 2009; about 75 percent (293) of the reported fatalities involved children younger than five.
- An estimated annual average of 5,200 pool or spa-related emergency department-treated submersion injuries for children younger than 15, from 2009 to 2011; children younger than 5 represented 79 percent, or 4,108, of these injuries.
- Children between the ages of 1 and 3 (12 months through 47 months) represented 66 percent of estimated injuries for 2009 through 2011 and 67 percent of the reported fatalities for 2007 through 2009 involving children younger than 15 years.
- The majority of the estimated emergency department-treated submersion injuries for 2009 through 2011 and the reported fatalities for 2007 through 2009 were associated with pools.
- Approximately 51 percent of the estimated injuries for 2009 through 2011 and 73 percent of the fatalities for 2007 through 2009 involving children younger than 15 years old occurred at a residence.
- Residential locations dominated incidents involving victims younger than 5 years of age (54 percent for injuries and 85 percent for fatalities).
- Approximately 58 percent of fatalities (annual average of 226) occurred in in-ground pools. Portable pools accounted for 10 percent of the reported fatalities (annual average of 40) to children younger than 15 years of age.
- There were no reported entrapment fatalities for 2011. CPSC received seven reports of entrapment injury incidents during 2011.
A Note on the “Linsanity” of Measuring the Relative Efficiency of National Basketball Association (NBA) Guards
A Note on the “Linsanity” of Measuring the Relative Efficiency of National Basketball Association (NBA) Guards (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics
This note examines the productive efficiency of 62 starting guards during the 2011/12 National Basketball Association (NBA) season. This period coincides with the phenomenal and largely unanticipated performance of New York Knicks’ starting point guard Jeremy Lin and the attendant public and media hype known as Linsanity. We employ a data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach that includes allowance for an undesirable output, here turnovers per game, with the desirable outputs of points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game and an input of minutes per game. The results indicate that depending upon the specification, between 29 and 42 percent of NBA guards are fully efficient, including Jeremy Lin, with a mean inefficiency of 3.7 and 19.2 percent. However, while Jeremy Lin is technically efficient, he seldom serves as a benchmark for inefficient players, at least when compared with established players such as Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade. This suggests the uniqueness of Jeremy Lin’s productive solution and may explain why his unique style of play, encompassing individual brilliance, unselfish play, and team leadership, is of such broad public appeal.
Drowning — United States, 2005–2009
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, and the highest rates are among children (1). Overall, drowning death rates in the United States have declined in the last decade; however, drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children aged 1–4 years (2,3). In 2001, approximately 3,300 persons died from unintentional drowning in recreational water settings, and an estimated 5,600 were treated in emergency departments (EDs) (4). To update information on the incidence and characteristics of fatal and nonfatal unintentional drowning in the United States, CDC analyzed death certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System and injury data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for 2005–2009. The results indicated that each year an average of 3,880 persons were victims of fatal drowning and an estimated 5,789 persons were treated in U.S. hospital EDs for nonfatal drowning. Death rates and nonfatal injury rates were highest among children aged ≤4 years; these children most commonly drowned in swimming pools. The drowning death rate among males (2.07 per 100,000 population) was approximately four times that for females (0.54). To prevent drowning, all parents and children should learn survival swimming skills. In addition, 1) environmental protections (e.g., isolation pool fences and lifeguards) should be in place; 2) alcohol use should be avoided while swimming, boating, water skiing, or supervising children; 3) lifejackets should be used by all boaters and weaker swimmers; and 4) all caregivers and supervisors should have training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Bayesball: A Bayesian Hierarchical Model for Evaluating Fielding in Major League Baseball (PDF)
Source: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
The use of statistical modeling in baseball has received substantial attention recently in both the media and academic community. We focus on a relatively under-explored topic: the use of statistical models for the analysis of ﬁelding based on high-resolution data consisting of on-ﬁeld location of batted balls. We combine spatial modeling with a hierarchical Bayesian structure in order to evaluate the performance of individual ﬁelders while sharing information between ﬁelders at each position. We present results across four seasons of MLB data (2002–2005) and compare our approach to other ﬁelding evaluation procedures.
See: Sports by the Numbers: Predicting Winners and Losers (Knowledge@Wharton Today)
Outcome Uncertainty, Reference-Dependent Preferences and Live Game Attendance (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics
We develop a consumer choice model of live attendance at a sporting event with reference-dependent preferences. The predictions of the model motivate the “uncertainty of outcome hypothesis” (UOH) as well as fan’s desire to see upsets and to simply see the home team win games, depending on the importance of the reference-dependent preferences and loss aversion. A critical review of previous empirical tests of the UOH reveals significant support for models with reference-dependent preferences, but less support for the UOH. New empirical evidence from Major League Baseball supports the loss aversion version of the model.a
Learning from GPS Data for Mobile Recommendation
Source: Microsoft Research
With the increasing popularity of location-based services, we have accumulated a lot of location data on the Web. In this paper, we are interested in answering two popular location-related queries in our daily life: 1) if we want to do something such as sightseeing or dining in a large city like Beijing, where should we go? 2) If we want to visit a place such as the Bird’s
Nest in Beijing Olympic park, what can we do there? We develop a mobile recommendation system to answer these queries. In our system, we first model the users’ location and activity histories as a user-location-activity rating tensor1. Because each user has limited data, the resulting rating tensor is essentially very sparse. This makes our recommendation task difficult.
In order to address this data sparsity problem, we propose three algorithms2 based on collaborative filtering. The first algorithm merges all the users’ data together, and uses a collective matrix factorization model to provide general recommendation . The second algorithm treats each user differently and uses a collective tensor and matrix factorization model to provide personalized recommendation . The third algorithm is a new algorithm which further improves our previous two algorithms by using a ranking-based collective tensor and matrix factorization model. Instead of trying to predict the missing entry values as accurately as possible, it focuses on directly optimizing the ranking loss w.r.t. user preferences on the locations and activities. Therefore, it is more consistent with our ultimate goal of ranking locations/activities for recommendations. For these three algorithms, we also exploit some additional information, such as user-user similarities, location features, activity-activity correlations and user-location preferences, to help the CF tasks. We extensively evaluate our algorithms using a real-world GPS dataset collected by 119 users over 2.5 years. We show that all our three algorithms can consistently outperform the competing baselines, and our newly proposed third algorithm can also outperform our other two previous algorithms.
+ Full Paper (PDF)
Play ball! How MLB teams rank in political giving
Source: Sunlight Foundation
It’s opening day of Major League Baseball’s 2012 season, so Sunlight has decided to take a look at which teams are the heaviest hitters when it comes to political giving.
Turns out the deepest pockets don’t always correlate with most home runs.
The Baltimore Orioles finished dead last in the American League East last year with a dismal record of 63 wins and 93 losses, but giving by their politically active owner, Peter Angelos, has made the Charm City team the champions of campaign giving.
Angelos gave more in the 2002 election cycle–some $2.1 million–than he did in any other. Perhaps the longtime Democratic donor wanted to influence the legislative fight to authorize the Department of Homeland Security, had a bitter taste left by the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, or wanted to distract himself from an announcement made by Commissioner Bud Selig that neighboring Washington — which Angelos long regarded as part of his market — was the prime choice to relocate the Montreal Expos. The O’s owner tried to block the move, failed, but did manage to win concessions including other owners guaranteeing a $365 million sales price should Angelos sell the team. He also forced an unfavorable TV deal on the team — which has prompted grousing but no serious pushback from members of Congress who, after all, control baseball’s antitrust exemption.
Another team that makes the top five of political givers, the Philadelphia Phillies, began upping contributions to state lawmakers in the late 1990s, just as the professional sports teams in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh began pressing the Pennsylvania legislature for funding for new stadiums. The legislature cooperated and the Phillies new Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.
Despite the New York Yankees’ gold-plated payroll and the fact that late owner George Steinbrenner, was once temporarily suspended from baseball for making illegal campaign contributions to former president Richard Nixon, the lads in pinstripes finish out of the top-five of baseball’s campaign givers.
The institutional framework for doing sports business: Principles of EU competition policy in sports markets
The institutional framework for doing sports business: Principles of EU competition policy in sports markets (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics
The competition rules and policy framework of the European Union represents an important institutional restriction for doing sports business. Driven by the courts, the 2007 overhaul of the approach and methodology has increased the scope of competition policy towards sports associations and clubs. Nowadays, virtually all activities of sports associations that govern and organize a sports discipline with business elements are subject to antitrust rules. This includes genuine sporting rules that are essential for a league, championship or tournament to come into existence. Of course, ‘real’ business or commercial activities like ticket selling, marketing of broadcasting rights, etc. also have to comply with competition rules. Regulatory activities of sports associations comply with European competition rules if they pursuit a legitimate objective, its restrictive effects are inherent to that objective and proportionate to it. This new approach offers important orientation for the strategy choice of sports associations, clubs and related enterprises. Since this assessment is done following a case-by-case approach, however, neither a blacklist of anticompetitive nor a whitelist of procompetitive sporting rules can be derived. Instead, conclusions can be drawn only from the existing case decisions – but, unfortunately, this leaves many aspects open. With respect to business activities, the focus of European competition policy is on centralized marketing arrangements bundling media rights. These constitute cartels and are viewed to be anticompetitive in nature. However, they may be exempted from the cartel prohibition on efficiency and consumer benefits considerations. Here, a detailed list of conditions exists that centralized marketing arrangements must comply with in order to be legal. Although this policy seems to be well-developed at first sight, a closer look at the decision practice reveals several open problems. Other areas of the buying and selling behavior of sports associations and related enterprises are considerably less well-developed and do not provide much orientation for business.
Exploring the relationship between outdoor recreation activities, community participation, and environmental attitudes
The relationship between environmental attitudes (EA) and environmentally responsible behavior (ERB) has been the focus of several studies in environmental psychology and recreation research. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between EAs and ERBs at both a general level and at an activity-specific level using a 2009 survey of motorized recreationists (all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders). Questions to measure general attitudes were adapted from the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) and activity-specific environmental attitude questions were developed from the literature.
+ Full Paper (PDF)
Keeping Score When It Counts: Academic Progress/Graduation Success Rate Study of 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournament Teams
Keeping Score When It Counts: Academic Progress/Graduation Success Rate Study of 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournament Teams (PDF)
Source: The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (University of Central Florida)
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) released its annual study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Academic Progress/Graduation Success Rate Study of 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournament Teams,” which compares graduation rates and academic progress rates for Division I teams that have been selected for the men’s and women’s brackets of the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournaments.
Dr. Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the study, is the director of TIDES and Chair of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF. The study was co-authored by Michael Farris and Michelle Milkovich.
This study is a follow-up report for the men’s tournament study that was released on March 12, 2012 (http://www.tidesport.org/Grad%20Rates/2012%20Men’s%20Basketball%20Tournament%20Teams%20Study.pdf). The study compares the academic performance of male and female basketball student-athletes and of African-American and white basketball student-athletes by examining the Graduation Success Rates (GSR) and the Academic Progress Rates (APR) for the tournament teams. The women graduated at a rate of 89 percent vs. 67 percent for the men and had only three teams in the field that had below a 925.
Lapchick stated, “The women’s teams always give us good news to report each year. It has been clear that student-athletes on women’s basketball teams graduate at a higher rate than student-athletes on men’s basketball teams. Additionally, the disparity gap between white and African-American student-athletes has always been significantly smaller on women’s teams compared to men’s teams. This year’s study reveals that there has been no change in the disparity between graduation rates of white and African-American women student-athletes which remains at eight percent compared to 28 percent for the men’s teams.”
There are 22 women’s teams that have a 100 percent graduation rate in the 2012 field. They include: Dayton, DePaul, Oklahoma, Duke, Kansas State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Creighton, Ohio State, Iowa State, Nebraska, Penn State, Georgetown, Florida, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Louisiana State, St. John’s, South Carolina, Iowa, Connecticut, Princeton. All but one team in the women’s field graduated more than 60 percent of their student-athletes.
The total area covered by urban parkland in the United States exceeds one and a half million acres, with parks ranging in size from the jewel-like 1.7-acre Post Office Square in Boston to the gargantuan 490,125-acre Chugach State Park in Anchorage. And their usage dwarfs that of the national parks—the most popular major parks, such as Lincoln Park in Chicago receive upwards of 20 million users each year, and New York’s Central Park gets about 35 million visits annually—more than seven times as many to the Grand Canyon.Some cities have plenty of parkland that’s well distributed around town; others have enough land but an inequitable distribution; others are short of even a basic amount of park space for their citizens.Through an annual survey, the Center for City Park Excellence maintains the nation’s most complete database of park facts for the 100 most populous U.S. cities. With the help of CCPE data, you can see how your city compares to others.
+ Full Report (PDF)
AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS: Study Shows Spending at National Parks Pumps $31 Billion into Local Economies, Supporting 258,000 Jobs
Visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009, according to a report issued by the National Park Service today.
Today’s announcement comes in advance of Friday’s White House Conference on Conservation being hosted at the Department of the Interior that will spotlight community-driven conservation efforts as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
The economic impact figures for the National Park System released today are based on $12 billion in direct spending by the 281 million visitors to parks in 2010 and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University.
Public Health Benefit of Active Video Games Is Not Clear-Cut
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
Simply giving a child an “active” video game will not necessarily increase his or her physical activity, according to the study, “Impact of an Active Video Game on Healthy Children’s Physical Activity,” in the March 2012 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 27). Researchers gave 87 children a game console, and either two “active” video games or two “inactive” games. Examples of active games include those in which players dance or use their bodies to simulate bowling. The children kept a log of their play times, and their activity levels were measured over a 12-week period using an accelerometer (a device that measures acceleration and exertion). The children who were given active games were not more physically active than those given inactive games.
The authors note that children have played active video games with moderate to vigorous physical activity in laboratory settings, but that did not translate to “real life.” They theorize that the children either did not elect to play the active games at the same level of intensity as in the lab, or they chose to be less active at other times of the day. However, providing explicit instructions to use the active games appeared to lead to increased physical activity, which could make the games useful as part of interventions that prescribe using the games for a set amount of time.
+ Full Paper (PDF)