Who wins the paralympic medals? An analysis of the socio-economic determinants

Cheuk-Wing LUI, Hon-Kwong LUI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


While the Olympic Games are always under the spotlight, the Paralympic Games are somehow ignored. This paper aims to invite the general public to think about the para-athletes and the differential treatments they received.

Among the participating countries, many of them were unable to win a single Olympic or Paralympic medal. When the dependent variable is left-censored, ordinary least squares regression is asymptotically biased downwards. In the literature, researchers typically employ the maximum likelihood Tobit model to take care of the censoring problem. However, some researchers argue that the Hurdle model has an advantage over the Tobit model in identifying the determinants of winning Olympic medals. Following their wisdom, this paper employs both the Tobit and Hurdle models in analysis.

The empirical evidence gathered in this paper suggests that population size, host status and average years of schooling are the big three socio-economic determinants when it comes to winning medals at the Paralympic Games and Olympic Games. The findings support the hypothesis that sports talent is randomly distributed and a large country has a higher chance to have talented athletes or para-athletes winning the Olympic medals. The strong host advantage also showed up in the following Paralympics but was not so strong at the next Olympics.

This paper not only examines the relationship between various social, economic and political factors in determining the success of a nation in the Paralympic Games but also attempts to identify possible non-traditional determinants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-256
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Asian Business and Economic Studies
Issue number4
Early online date24 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Cheuk-Wing Lui and Hon-Kwong Lui.


  • Disability
  • Life expectancy
  • democracy index
  • Hurdle model
  • Paralympic games
  • Democracy index


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