Does sport affect the competitiveness of European Union countries? An analysis of the degree of innovation and GDP per capita using linear and QCA models

  • María Huertas González-Serrano
  • Vicente Prado-Gascó
  • Josep Crespo-Hervás
  • Ferran Calabuig-MorenoEmail author


The sport industry has experienced great growth in recent years worldwide, and especially in the European Union (EU) countries. However, despite the role that this industry can play in improving the competitiveness of these countries (Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and innovation performance), no studies have been found that analyse its influence. So, the main aim of this study is, firstly, to analyse the relationship between the innovation performance and the GDP per capita of EU countries, and, secondly, to find out how sport-related indicators and different innovation-related indicators influence the innovation performance and GDP per capita of the EU countries. To this end, two different methodologies have been used: hierarchical regression models and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). A total sample of 23 EU countries have been analysed. The results show that GDP per capita and innovation performance are highly correlated in a positive and significant way (0.76; p < .0001), and that the variables related to sport help explain the variance of these two variables, highlighting as necessary variable in both cases the growth in the sports sector (consistency >0.90). Finally, a number of practical implications are presented that can help policy makers to improve the competitiveness of EU countries.


Sport Innovation GDP per capita Competitiveness European Union countries QCA 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Educacion and SportUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Social PhsychologyUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain

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