The economics of sport policy
Economics is the social science that analyses how people make choices under conditions of scarcity. Scarcity itself is a multidimensional construct that encompasses, among others, scarcity of financial, time, human, material, spatial/infrastructural resources. As almost every individual and organisational decision is made under such constraints, economics can contribute to the understanding and explanation of numerous phenomena (Becker and Murphy, 2001). This includes developing knowledge in order to optimise structures, processes, and welfare distribution. Optimising, in an economic sense, means increasing efficiency. Thus, economics can contribute to the body of knowledge of sport policy in different ways: by explaining why and when governments should intervene in sport systems; by contributing to the understanding of strategic behaviour in the sport policy field; and by providing models, tools and methods for evaluating sport policies. Further, (neo-institutional) economics can help in understanding the impact of legal norms and institutions on actors in the sports system. With the help of the economic perspective, more effective and efficient sport policies with regard to institutional arrangements can be shaped. Finally, the economics of sport policy can help to distinguish and explain various logics of sport systems and their consequences for sport policy issues. Each of these aspects is discussed in turn in the following sections.