At 01:31 PM 7/10/2003 -0500, Fabio wrote:
... But a lot people inside sports
seem to resent big market teams (Yankees, LA Lakers) consistently
dominating the play-offs, although audiences seem to want dynasties from
big cities.
Is there an inherent problem here? Is it inevitable that there is a
conflict between people inside sports who want to see some diversity among
the winners? Is big league team sports inherently biased towards the
dynasty model? Are there viable business models for team sports that could
produce a wider range of winners?

The conflict you describe is that some people want more of a fair fight, and others put more weight on wanting "my team to win". Of course the second group doesn't want to win via too easy or obvious an advantage. They may want the rough appearance of fairness, but in fact want enough unfairness for them to win.

Does a similar phenomena occur in other areas of life?  Do university alumni
want an appearance of fair evaluation of applicants, but really want their
kids to have an advantage?  Do businesses want an appearance that local media
are fair and impartial, but really want to be able to buy them off to prefer
their side of the story?  Are there other examples?

Can we model this behavior as resulting from rational agents, or is some
irrationality required to make such a story work?

Assistant Professor of Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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