Markets in Everything: Protest Rights

by on February 25, 2014 at 11:12 am in Current Affairs, Economics, Sports | Permalink

At the Olympics if you want to protest a decision, you must have cash:

The reason that Mathieu — and many other coaches across most Olympic sports — make certain they always have a specific amount of cash on hand is that if they want to protest an official decision during competition, they need more than just a strong opinion and an angry yell.

They also need money.

…Depending on the sport, the fee varies: for luge, it is 50 euros (about $67). Cross-country skiing, like snowboard and Alpine skiing, demands 100 Swiss francs (about $112) but stipulates that all protests must be submitted in English. Bobsled and skeleton are among the most expensive: they require a deposit of 100 euros before any protest will even be considered. If multiple countries want to make a similar protest, sharing the tab is allowed.

Hat tip to the excellent PriorProbability who also points out that if your protest is successful you get your money back so these payments are also protest bets.

Just another MR Commentor February 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

I think this is a good way to go in general. Otherwise you have too many complaints and protests. Protest and voting rights should be sold in the US – it only makes sense since there are a limited number of politicians but many citizens. If protests are free, basic economics states that they will occur almost all the time putting a price on them helps bring supply and demand towards an equilibrium.

ladderff February 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Agreed.

Brian Donohue February 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Nah. Protesters are selfless crusaders for the public good. In fact, they ARE a public good, and, as such, should be subsidized.

Just another MR Commentor February 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Twitter and Facebook provided the appropriate venue for protests now, Facebook could expand their service line by selling people the right to join protests movements started on Facebook. The blockchain could also offer an interesting new way to engage in protest.

marcus February 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

And yet protests in America do not occur almost all the time, suggesting the status quo isn’t so bad. France, Italy, Spain, though…

Peter Schaeffer February 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm

“Markets in Everything: Protest Rights”

It’s a fee, not a market. There is no supply and demand, price determination, marginal cost, marginal revenue, etc.

Just another MR Commentor February 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Making protest free means that officials have no incentive to supply more issues over which to protest. If protests are priced then the supply of issues will raise to meet demand.

Peter Schaeffer February 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm

JAMRC,

Do you really think any of the (potentially) aggrieved parties (Yuna Kim, Carolina Kostner) in Ladies Figure Skating were constrained by a $100 fee?

The incremental value of the prizes (gold vs. silver vs. bronze) is literally orders of magnitude (3-5) greater than the fees.

Only people absurdly obsessed with markets would see this as a price determined economic process, and then only if they ignored the other (obvious) factors.

Just another MR Commentor February 25, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Then that would only show that the protest option is underpriced

Peter Schaeffer February 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

JAMRC,

The fact that the “protest option is underpriced” and that demand is nil shows that we are not dealing with a “market”

Just another MR Commentor February 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

The world is awash in protests right now – we are over supplied with protests because its a free activity: Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela just to name the recent ones. Putting a price on protest would help reduce the amount of and get us back to a more stable equilibrium in the political marketplace.

Prior Probability February 26, 2014 at 8:44 am

Note that there is a cost to protesting in the political arena (as we have been seeing recently in the Ukraine, Venezuela, and Egypt) : one’s time and the risk of getting hurt by the police … there is also something of a collective action problem at work: after all, why should I go out to protest if other people are willing to protest and my individual presence makes little marginal difference to the success of the protest? It’s remarkable that anyone is willing to protest at all!

RM February 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

There ought to be some sliding scale to account for poorer nations $67 in Poland, Russia, Romania (all of which are likely to take part in the winter games) is a lot of money.

Rahul February 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

The signalling aspect:

“Sometimes at races you will see coaches walking around carrying rulebooks,….Then if you look close, you will see that they have 100 euros sticking out the top of the rulebook. They are showing everyone that they are ready.”

dbeach February 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I learned about this at the last Summer Olympics. There was some controversy involving one of the American gymnasts and they showed her coach pulling out a handful of cash (USD I think, which seems slightly inconvenient).

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