Study: Doping behaviour -Team manager incentives etc...

Jul 11, 2013

Stumbled upon this study...
Maybe we could have a wider discussion of doping behavior.
Especially in relation to the team manager role often discussed and subject to controversy..


Doping seems to be well-organized and inherent in the system of professional cycling.
This paper provides a theoretical approach, by using a multi-task (training and doping) principal-agent (team manager and cyclist) model, to illustrate the information asymmetry and conflicting objectives between both actors.
Three settings are used to represent different situations in which the fight against doping takes place with varying intensity.
The comparison of the equilibria in each setting reveals the influence of the fight against doping on the team members? behaviour.
The analysis shows that team managers are interested in doping, and that current anti-doping institutions cannot suppress the abuse of forbidden drugs.

In professional cycling many doping scandals occur, although there is a stakeholders? consensus for a clean sport. This raises the research question that isaddressed in this paper: Are all these doping cases only exceptions in the otherwise clean cycling community, or is doping well organised and incentivised by the system?
The question is answered by modelling the interaction between a team manager and a cyclist. A multi-task principal-agent model illustrates the information asymmetry and conflicting objectives between both actors.
The comparison of three institutional settings reveals the influence of the fight against doping on the team members? behaviour. The analysis shows that team managers have an incentive to implement organized doping.
Team managers offer contracts to cyclists that implement the abuse of drugs. In my model, the rider adopts to these contracts and he cannot gain anything by using drugs. In addition, my model demonstrates that the fight against doping mitigates the doping problem by decreasing the extent of doping. The cyclist will use fewer forbidden drugs, but drug abuse will still exist. Thus, it is not possible to offer a drug-free sport with the help of the current anti-doping policies. Moreover, this doping fight will not change the teams? interest in doping.
Organised doping offers higher profits to the team manager than relying on clean cyclist. Another insight is that the team manager cannot ensure a drug-free sport through contracts designed for this purpose. In such a situation, the cyclist will use forbidden drugs as long as his effort is not observable. Therefore, doping seems to be well organised in professional cycling, and the image of a clean cycling community is misleading.
The results are relevant for discussing the doping problem.
If it is the aim of the fight against doping to establish a drug-free sport, it is necessary to consider the doping incentives for other actors as well.
This paper demonstrates the team manager's incentive to support doping. The same might be true for other actors as well.
Sport physicians, sponsors, media and regulating bodies like governments or sport associations may benefit from doping, too. Thus, future research should identify doping incentives for all these actors. If there are additional incentives for doping by other actors, the fight against doping must concentrate on these actors in order to have a clean sport.
Economics can help to evaluate new ideas in the fight against doping. Another insight is that the current fight against doping is imperfect.
Thus, the ineffective anti-doping instruments support a distorted image of professional cycling. As a consequence, it might be better to invest the resources being used in the fight against doping toward the health protection of the respective athletes.
Jul 11, 2013
From page 31...

The team manager's expected utility is higher in the anti-doping setting.
Thus, the team manager is interested in an abuse of forbidden substances and she is willing to compensate the cyclist for the forbidden doping activity.
This willingness to pay is reflected in the contract; therefore, the rider will use drugs.
The result achieved explains the rise of organized doping in cycling teams. Moreover, it becomes clear that the anti-doping fight can only reduce the extent of drug abuse; it is not possible to create a drug-free sport with such anti-doping instruments.
The last research question is whether the team manager can offer a drugfree sport on her own, or not. In order to answer this question, I assume that the team manager is willing to abstain from doping although this behaviour would lead to a reduction in profits.
Under this assumption, the team manager wants to design a contract that provides for a drug-free sport. It turns out that, although the team manger wants to implement a clean sport, the cyclist is interested in using drugs.
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