I don’t usually recycle posts but this one is from the early days of MR, and my view on steroids hasn’t changed much. Excerpt:
Note that the Olympics probably prosper more from competitive balance
than from a single dominant country. Was it really so much fun for the
rest of the world to watch the Soviets win all those medals? This would
predict that the Olympics should take special care to ban
performance-enhancing drugs, which is indeed the case.
Baseball is again thrown under a cloud, and one obvious question is how much we have close substitutes for our increasingly damaged pride in the sport. The likely eventual outcome is a long-run equilibrium where all performance enhancements are allowed, thereby placing an inefficient tax on amateurs and performers who don’t need to be the very best. Unless you think real enforcement is possible, the publicness of today’s not-even-surprising revelations means the game has no other way to go. Common knowledge does matter. So even if some of you think it might be more efficient to simply allow steroid use and then look the other way, that is not obviously an attainable equilibrium.