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An economic analysis of sports performance in Africa

John Manuel Luiz (Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
Riyas Fadal (Wits Business School, Johannesburg, South Africa)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The purpose of this study is to develop insight into the socio‐economic determinants of African sports performance. Previous studies have argued that a country's success in sports is directly related to the economic resources that are available for those sports. However, factors that are used to determine the levels of success for developed countries are not necessarily the same, or bear the same weight, as for developing countries.


The premise of this study is to identify specific factors that increase success in sports in developing countries by means of several econometric specifications using cross sectional data for African countries.


This study finds evidence that suggests that Africa's performance in sports is dependent on a range of socio‐economic factors, which in some respects confirms worldwide studies. Money does indeed matter: GDP was the overwhelmingly consistent dependent variable in all four models tested. Interestingly, important shades of distinction between the various dependent variables are found.


There is a lack of research in the field of sports and organizational economics especially in emerging countries. Previous studies have treated countries as a homogeneous grouping and allowed the broad aggregates to reveal the determinants. This study focuses on a sub‐group of countries that are relatively poor, have had a complex past with colonial masters, and that generally have weak administrative structures.



Manuel Luiz, J. and Fadal, R. (2011), "An economic analysis of sports performance in Africa", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 38 No. 10, pp. 869-883.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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