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This paper reports on an empirical discrete choice model of the factors influencing a hypothetical athlete’s deliberations around using prohibited performance enhancing substances (doping) developed from a sample of 259 elite Australian athletes (76% Australian, Worlds or Olympic). Kim was constructed as a gender neutral athlete at the same level and stage of career as the respondent. The results indicate athletes felt Kim would be more at risk of considering doping if convinced by a coach or senior athlete of disproportionate immediate gains to performance with little or no consequences (e.g., low risk of prosecution). Conversely, athletes indicated Kim was felt to be less inclined to consider doping if doping would be fatal, to achieve or maintain performance, large fines ($150,000) or no financial gain. The choice model also indicates elite athletes’ projections about doping considerations were rational in character. The implications for managing the role of drugs in sport suggest antidoping could be improved with precisely timed testing, changing incentive structures within sport, concealing test accuracy and publicly humiliating athletes caught doping.
Huybers and Mazanov are with the School of Business, University of New South Wales, Canberra, NSW, Australia.