Sporting success “distracts” workers, research finds

Sporting successes at global events such as Jessica Ennis' Olympic gold for GB in the London 2012 ga

Sporting successes at global events such as Jessica Ennis' Olympic gold for GB in the London 2012 games distract stock markets, UEA researchers have found. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Many of us know the feeling of surreptitiously watching a sporting event at work – or perhaps of having celebrated a victory too much.

But now the impact of global sports events such as the Olympic Games on productivity has been laid bare in a study on the stock market by a University of East Anglia (UEA) academic.

Countries which won multiple Olympic medals were found to have a decrease in national stock market trading, though overall returns were largely unaffected.

The researchers argue that the drop in trading is because investors, along with the whole population, are distracted and that the level increases with success.

Author Raphael Markellos, professor in finance at UEA's Norwich Business School, said: 'Our results support survey evidence from the London 2012 Games suggesting that around one in four people reported that they are likely to watch or listen to the events coverage at work.'


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