Shipping the Runners to the Race: A Sport Tourism Interpretation of the Alchian-Allen Theorem, pp. 268-279

Steven Cobb
Douglas J. Olberding

This paper provides empirical support for the Alchian and Allen “shipping the good apples out” hypothesis. The hypothesis version tested here involves estimating the effect of travel cost on the quality of a weekend trip to Cincinnati, where travel cost is measured by time spent in travel and visit quality is measured by the amount of discretionary spending associated with the trip. Using linear regression analysis on data from race participants in the 2008 Flying Pig marathon and half marathon races, strong and robust evidence is found to support the validity of this hypothesis. Specifically, travel distance does indeed have a statistically significant positive but diminishing (with distance traveled) impact on discretionary spending for both marathon and half-marathon participants. The results provide support for this proposition, a variant of the “shipping the good apples out” hypothesis, and add empirical support to the diverse but relatively limited literature on this subject.