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Regulators and the Washington Redskins

- April 28, 2011

bq. We examine the correlation between federal government activity and performance of the capital’s National Football League team, the Washington Redskins. We find a positive, non-spurious, and robust correlation between the Redskins’ winning percentage and bureaucratic output, measured by pages published in the Federal Register. Because the Redskins’ performance is prototypically exogenous, we give this result a causal interpretation and provide a plausible, causal mechanism: bureaucrats must make “logrolling” deals to expand their regulatory power, and a winning football team offers a shared source of optimism to lubricate such negotiations. We do not find the same correlation when examining congressional activity.

From a recently published paper by Bentley Coffey, Patrick McLaughlin and Robert Tollison (gated; “ungated”:http://www.springerlink.com/content/kq4m7n827153m754/). Fortunately for fans of smaller government, the Redskins suck.

For a previous installment of “how sports matters for politics,” see “this post”:https://themonkeycage.org/2009/09/football_and_social_science_1.html.