What Good Credit Means For Olympic Victory

What do bond yields have to do with winning medals at the winter Olympics? Absolutely nothing!

On last Tuesday's podcast, David and Chana mentioned that the U.S. — which has great credit and low 10-year bond yields — was winning lots of medals in Vancouver. But Greece, with falling credit and rising yields, hadn't won any medals.

I smelled a correlation.

defaults versus medals i
defaults versus medals

Planet Money intern Ethan Arrow agreed to test my hypothesis.

He put together a chart mapping the relationship between 10-year yields on sovereign bonds and the final medal count at the Games.

Alas! My hypothesis did not pan out. Click on the thumbnail to see the full chart.

I know what you're thinking right now: Ok, but what about the relationship between medal count and frequency of sovereign defaults since 1800?

Listener Philip Howard had the same thought.

And last week, before the games had wrapped up, he sent us the chart below, using data on sovereign defaults from a Planet Money blog post.

"Unfortunately," Philip wrote to us, "there is nothing statistically significant." Click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized version.

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