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Changing rewards in contests: Has the three-point rule brought more offense to soccer?

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Author Info

  • José Correia Guedes

    ()
    (Faculdade de Ciências Económicas e Empresariais, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Palma de Cima, 1600 Lisboa, Portugal)

  • Fernando S. Machado

    ()
    (Faculdade de Ciências Económicas e Empresariais, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Palma de Cima, 1600 Lisboa, Portugal)

Abstract

In the mid-nineties FIFA decided to increase from two to three the number of points assigned to the winning team of a soccer match played under traditional round-robin national leagues. Since a game of soccer can be regarded as a contest, FIFA's measure provides an interesting case-study for analysing how a change in the system of rewards (from a zero to a non-zero sum rule) may affect the contestants' equilibrium behaviour. In this paper we try to assess, both theoretically and empirically, whether FIFA's new point rule has changed soccer towards a more offensive game, in which teams adopt more risky strategies. In particular, we evaluate the "naïve hypothesis" according to which the measure would induce every team to play always more offensively, and we explore the extent to which the change in teams' behaviour may be affected by quality differentials between teams. Our most important hypothesis is that when the asymmetry between opposing teams is large enough, an increase in the reward for victory induces the weaker team to play more defensively, rather than the opposite. By looking at a subset of matches held in the Portuguese first division league, which approximate the conditions of our model, we find support for this hypothesis.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Empirical Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 607-630

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Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:27:y:2002:i:4:p:607-630

Note: received: July 1999/Final version received: May 2001
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Related research

Keywords: Contests · rewards · incentives · strategy in sports.;

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Cited by:
  1. Geyer, Hannah, 2008. "Theoretische Analyse der Strategienwahl unter der Zwei- und Drei-Punkte-Regel im Fußball," IÖB-Diskussionspapiere 1/08, University of Münster, Institute for Economic Education.
  2. Moschini, GianCarlo, 2008. "Incentives and Outcomes in a Strategic Setting: The 3-Points-For-A-Win System in Soccer," Staff General Research Papers 12942, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Lee, Yoong Hon & Parinduri, Rasyad, 2013. "Does the Three-Point Rule Make Soccer More Exciting? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," MPRA Paper 48467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Kenneth Linna & Evan Moore & Rodney Paul & Andrew Weinbach, 2014. "The Effects of the Clock and Kickoff Rule Changes on Actual and Market-Based Expected Scoring in NCAA Football," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(2), pages 179-192, April.
  5. Geyer, Hannah, 2008. "Auswechselverhalten im Fußball: Eine theoretische und empirische Analyse," IÖB-Diskussionspapiere 5/08, University of Münster, Institute for Economic Education.
  6. Stefan Wagner, 2010. "Managerial succession and organizational performance-evidence from the German Soccer League," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(6), pages 415-430.

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