Performance-Enhancing Drugs and the Production of Season Best Performances in Track & Field

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Allison Fisher Michael C. Seeborg


This paper explores trends in the production of post WWII track and fieldperformances in six events. Of particular concern is how performances deviated fromlong-term trend from 1962 through 1990, a period when elite track and field athletes wereknown to systematically use steroids in an environment of ineffective testing. Log-lineartrend regression for each event and their residuals are used to develop an indicatorvariable of whether the actual performances of elite athletes were better than trend. Probitmodels are then used to predict the probability of better than trend performance for threetime periods. The results show very high probabilities of above trend performance duringthe heavy use period and much lower probabilities of above trend performance after 1990,a period when testing was more effective and international anti-doping efforts morecoordinated. (J24)

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