Economic briefing paper
How many medals will New Zealand win at the 2012 Olympic games?
With the 2012 Olympic Games in London fast approaching, speculation is mounting about how many medals each country will win. In this paper, PwC UK Chief Economist considers, as a light hearted (but nonetheless reasonably rigorous) contribution to the debate, how far statistical models can help to explain the number of medals won by each country in past Olympics. We published the results of a similar modelling exercise around the time of the Beijing 2008, Athens 2004 and Sydney 2000 Olympics and have now updated this analysis, taking into account also the results of other past studies in this area.
The following economic and political factors were found to be statistically significant in explaining the number of medals won by each country at previous Olympic Games:
- average income levels (measured by GDP per capita at PPP exchange rates);
- whether the country was previously part of the former Soviet/communist bloc (including Cuba and China); and
- whether the country is the host nation.