As I mentioned earlier, my alma mater George Mason is more known for their economics department (one with a certain libertarian flavor) than their sports department. In today’s Washington Post, one of their writers ties in Mason’s economics team to the current sports run (PDF). An excerpt:
“Think of a basketball game as a vastly simplified proxy for the real world. There are laws that govern behavior (the rulebook), people who enforce those laws (referees), and a way to measure who is succeeding and who isn’t (the score). Just as lawmakers can change the way wealth is distributed by changing tax and other rules, changes to the rules of basketball can have sometimes unpredictable effects on what teams score the most, and how. Peter Boettke, a George Mason economist and avid basketball fan, offers an outlandish example: “I can change one rule in basketball and Michael Jordan will no longer be the best basketball player of all time. You could change the rules to require the game be played on stiletto heels. Then Cindy Crawford would be the best player.”
Here is a starting point for checking out economics/behavior research at George Mason University.