Tuesday, December 30, 2008

incentive ... to cheat

The sixty-six highest ranked wrestlers in Japan, comprising the makuuchi and juryo divisions, make up the sumo elite.
A wrestler near the top of this elite pyramid earns millions and is treated like royalty. Any wrestler in the top forty earns at least $170,000 a year. The seventieth-ranked wrestler in Japan, meanwhile, earns only $15,000 a year. Life isn't very sweet outside the elite. Low-ranked wrestlers must tend to their superiors, preparing their meals, cleaning their quarters, and even soaping up their hardest-to-reach body parts. So ranking is everything.
Levitt & Dubner, Freakonomics, p. 36