Does higher sport supply lead to higher sport demand? A city level analysis
This paper explores the decision to participate in sports activities and the subsequent frequency of participation using data from a big German city, Munich, representative sample of individuals in 2008. Individual and socio-economic variables characterizing the individuals were collected. A new type of variable, which has not been included in the existing econometric studies yet, is introduced: the availability of sport infrastructures, including their geographical localization and the type of infrastructure. If building sport infrastructures can be seen as an investment and as a consequence a cost for the city, sport infrastructures can also be considered as a factor influencing positively the sport demand. However, the localization of such an infrastructure can be seen as a time and income constraint for the sport participant if the distance from the home is too important. Traditional non linear econometric analysis, logit and poisson models, as well as two-level nonlinear hierarchical models are used to examine the empirical evidence provided by the data collected by survey including 11.715 persons. The results suggest that social and individual characteristics are of paramount importance in determining sports participation and sports frequency, as shown in the 2 recent econometric studies based on UK and US data (Downward, 2007 and Humpreys and Ruseski, 2007). In our study related to the city Munich, we can see that the impact of the variable age is non linear, that the gender is highly significant in explaining the differences of sport participation and the impact of the level of school attendance on sport practice are significantly explanatory. A very interesting result is the explanatory power of the variable ethnicity, or nationality of the person and we take a particular attention on it. The regression coefficients related to different nationalities differs among sport disciplines. These differences could be explained no only by sociological reasons, but also by economic reasons, among other things. The economic variables, taking alone, particularly the monthly income of the person interweaved, have a lower impact on both the decision to practice sport and the frequency of the sport activity. The most innovative result of our econometric study is to state, through an analysis of each kind of sport infrastructures, that the sport practice supply in an acceptable distance from the individual home has a significant and positive impact on both the decision of practicing a sport and on the frequency of this activity. These results, related to the city Munich, open an alternative way of considering the urban sport demand. Such a study could allow predicting the outcomes of political decisions in the domain of sport for all at the city level, the econometrical models using there being able to predict on how many percent the sport participation would increase if a new sport infrastructure would be built.
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