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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but biased, 4 April 2011
This review is from: Playbooks and Checkbooks: An Introduction to the Economics of Modern Sports (Hardcover)
I studied the economics of sport as a module at Uni in 2008 as part of my degree in economics, and Mr Szymanski was mentioned quite a bit during my lectures and seminars. He really is a big name in the field, especially with regards to European football/soccer (despite being American).

Overall I'd say the book was good. It does exactly what it says on the tin, in that it provides a very good introduction to the field and points the reader in the right direction for further study by splitting the book into chapters based on specific areas (such as the labour market for sport or the effect of the media on sport), and for each chapter it lists all the most important and significant papers and books in those areas. It also provides a very good history of economic thought in the economics of sport, and also a really good analysis of the history of sport in general, from both an American and European perspective.

However, before reading this book I read, "How Markets Fail" by John Cassidy, a superb denunciation of the "Utopian" free market economics of the likes Hayek, Friedman etc. I was flabbergasted by the way that Szymanski accepted and promoted, without any mention of the disagreement amongst other economists, fundamentalist free market ideals such as the Efficient Markets Hypothesis and the Coase Theorem. He also, in the space of a mere few paragraphs, seemed to completely dismiss the main ideas of Keynesianism, without acknowledging that his ideas were often misinterpreted by the likes of Hicks and Modigliani, and that the ideas of Keynes were more than just deficit spending in times of recession.

Like I said, a good book, and for me the best part was probably the history of sport in the earlier chapters rather than the actual economic analysis later on. I just can't help but feel that the author thinks that those who are reading the book will not be too familiar with economic theory, and he seems to take advantage of this by trying to promote his ideals with a little too much bias.
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Playbooks and Checkbooks: An Introduction to the Economics of Modern Sports
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