Friday, February 19, 2010

Men's Olympic Figure Skating

Over the last few days our house has been saturated with the Olympics. While watching the men's figure skating program, the announcer's have been discussing whether individual skaters should include a "quad" - jump with four revolutions. Economics is in part a science of trying to determine optimal decision-making, and thus can shed a little light on this interesting question. The New York Times has some data as to the performance of attempting a "quad" for various Olympic contenders.

In short, the decision rests on the probability of successfully executing the jump times the value of the jump and comparing that against the probability of unsuccessfully executing the jump times the deduction of the unsucessful attempt.

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