With a haul of 13 medals, New Zealand has outperformed the best
predictions of the world’s number crunchers by a massive
162.5 per cent, according to a Massey University economics
Dr Michael Naylor, from the School of Economics and Finance, has
compiled a table of Olympic medal performance by combining the
predictions of the four leading mathematical models used for this
purpose. Between them the models include factors like population,
per capita income, and financial support for athletes.
"In the least week New Zealanders have been intensely interested in
New Zealand’s relative Olympic medal performance, especially
how we have done comparatively to other countries," says Dr Naylor.
"My calculations show that New Zealand outperformed what we could
relatively expect to achieve by over 160 per cent, and we were
second best in the world."
Only Iran, with 12 medals, exceeded expectations by an even greater
degree. However, New Zealand beat the performance of countries like
Jamaica, Great Britain, China, and the United States. Our
trans-Tasman neighbours, after a disappointing Olympics campaign,
ranked just 26th.
Dr Naylor says he averaged the predictions of the most accurate
models used to predict Olympic medals to formulate his table.
"The models of Andrew Bernard from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of
Business and Daniel Johnson of Colorado College have proved to be
uncannily accurate - above 95 per cent," he explains. "The Bernard
model uses an equal weighting of population and GDP, then adds in a
host country effect and the country’s performance in previous
"The Johnson Model uses those factors proportionally weighted, as
well as neighbouring country and country specific factors. Factors
like climate and being communist have been shown to now be
To the Bernard and Johnson models, Dr Naylor also added the more
recent studies by Goldman Sachs and PricewaterhouseCoppers, which
used a wide range of metrics.