Saturday, June 30, 2012

Western Econ Meetings: Sports on Trial and Other Quick Thoughts

The first session I went to today at the Western Economics meetings was on Sports and Trials. A couple of legal experts and economists commented on doing expert witness work for sports trials. My favorite take away was from one panelist who says he tells his clients that "they pay him for his opinion, if they like it they can pay him more to testify" It did sound like having a consistent opinion and using the tools of economics was the key to being a good expert witness, and you could get in to trouble if you started to base your conclusions on the side you worked for. One panelist Dennis Coates talked about a lengthy post he had written about two of his colleagues working on either side of the case of the SuperSonics vs the city of Seattle, which is a good inside look.

In the afternoon I saw session with a paper on rival sports leagues. Using a theoretical model the authors attempted to explain why we have only one major baseball, football, hockey and basketball league in the US. I quite liked the paper and still wonder why players leagues as were proposed during the lockout of the NBA haven't caught on. I assume this would work better in basketball where there are more potential arenas and fewer players to organize.

Finally, I am most excited by one local economist's offer to take us out to a Pakistani restaurant with awesome food, but terrible decor and will make us smell like tandori. After reading Tyler Cowen's an economist gets lunch I know I'm in good hands!

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