Reader Jane Harris addresses the vexed question “How many umpires?”, first in econospeak and then in verse. The occasion is an AFL proposal to allow goal and boundary umps to award free kicks.
Comments welcome (rhyming couplets please)
An economist tackling the problem of optimal number of umpires would use the law of diminishing marginal returns. The marginal benefits of extra umpires would tend to fall as extra ones are added. The optimum number of umpires is achieved when the marginal benefits equal the marginal costs,and the challenge is finding this number without overshooting. Has the AFL got good advisers do you think?
Bob Dylan (blowin in the wind) may provide an answer.
How many umps must be out on the ground
Before they pick up all the frees
Yes’n when will they start falling over each other’s feet
and what if they tend to disagree
Yes’n what will happen if it all ends up
In an all-in umpire melee
I think I will go, and ask Dimetriou
I’m sure that Andrew will know