Economist Reading Comprehension Challenge #4

Here is the fourth installment of the Economist Reading Comprehension Challenge.  Good Luck!


1. According to the passage, the attitude referred to in the 8th paragraph reflects:

A. The dominant paradigm in drug testing for professional sports

B. A consequence of several failed attempts to overhaul drug testing in professional sports

C. The views of many active professional athletes

D. A departure from the attitude of many of the officials involved in policing professional athletes

E. The attitude of a small but significant minority of individuals who work in professional sports

2. According to the passage, some mathematicians believe that:

A. The penalties for drug violations in professional sports are too low

B. Lack of resources would be the easiest problem to address in drug testing related to professional sports

C. If professional athletes believed they would get caught using performance enhancing drugs then they would refrain from using them.

D. Drug enforcement officials in some professional sports have more authority than officials in other sports.

E. If performance enhancing drugs were legalized then far more professional athletes would use them

3. The author would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

A. Game theory should not be used as a model for the behavior of professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs

B. For many professional athletes aversion to cheating is greater than the desire to win

C. In some professional sports it is an exception to be an athlete not using performance enhancing drugs.

D. Most athletes are motivated to use performance enhancing drugs for financial reasons which outweigh potential punishments if they are caught using drugs.

E. Some drug enforcement officials do not conduct thorough investigations into some athletes drug use because of the tightly knit nature of the professional sports community.

4. What is the main point of the passage?

A. A new mathematical theory illustrates that professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs use a cost benefit analysis but ultimately consider the benefits of performance enhancing drugs outweigh the costs of being caught.

B. The current system of drug enforcement in professional sports allows the motivations of certain stakeholders to limit the system’s power so that athletes are stuck in a prisoners dilemma which rewards cheating.

C. Given that the proper stakeholders can be identified, mathematical theories can be used as predictors of behavior.

D. A new mathematical theory illustrates that drug use in professional sports is the result of intense competition amongst athletes and their desire to win.

E. A mathematical theory used to predict behavior is only as accurate as the information that the theory is used to interpret.

5. What is the main purpose of the second paragraph?

A. To present a puzzling question which the passage then attempts to answer

B. To provide information about the punishments for getting caught taking performance enhancing drugs.

C. To introduce a theory which does not properly predict the behavior being investigated

D. To detail several facts critical to the author’s central argument

E. To introduce a counter argument which is ultimately refuted

6. Which of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

A. In some instances, reporting an athlete’s negative drug test results is more important than reporting another athlete’s positive drug test results.

B. Only by taking an action that could disqualify a significant number of participants in professional sports can the dilemma presented in the passage be solved.

C. Increasing the severity of the punishments for drug violations in professional sports may not solve the problem outlined in the passage but could diminish it.

D. A majority of professional athletes would not cheat if they knew that they could win without cheating.

E. Some mathematicians believe that the current system of drug enforcement in professional sports is adequate to control the problem but will not eliminate drug use completely.


1. A

2 .C

3. C

4. B

5. A

6. B