‘3 can become 6 only after another 12 years’

Bibek Debroy in The Indian Express:

“India’s medal tally is typically binary—0 or 1…. Hence, 2008 is extraordinary. There are econometric models that seek to explain performance in Olympics that distil performance down to five factors—population, per capita income, past performance, climate, and a host effect, with the last especially pronounced for gold medals.

“Obviously, no single variable alone provides the answer. Had population been the only determinant, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria would have performed better. Had per capita income been the only determinant, Luxembourg, Ireland and Iceland would have performed better. One can’t influence past performance and host effect won’t materialise for India before 2020, if at all.

“However, India’s per capita income is increasing. Has India therefore moved away from a 0/1 trend to a 2/3 trend? Assorted models suggest there is a threshold of US $ 1000 per capita income one has to cross first, since the relationship between the medal tally and income isn’t linear and proportional.

“India is close to the threshold, but hasn’t crossed it yet. By that token, India should break into a 3-plus trajectory beyond 2012 and 6-plus trajectory beyond 2020. (A PwC report predicted 6 in Beijing.)”

Read the full article: Five ring masters

Also read: The world’s worst performing Olympics country?