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International Soccer Success and National Institutions


  • Michael A. Leeds

    (Temple University,

  • Eva Marikova Leeds

    (Moravian College and Temple University Japan)


A growing literature has examined the causes of success in international soccer. We build on this literature by constructing a model of international success, as measured by the number of ``Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) points'' a national team has earned and by the resulting rank. We generate testable hypotheses about the impact of a nation's political regime, colonial heritage, and institutions on its soccer performance. Using ordinary least squares (OLS) and negative binomial regressions, we show that our proxies for these variables affect soccer performance. Specifically, we find that the international success of a country's club teams positively affects the national team's success.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael A. Leeds & Eva Marikova Leeds, 2009. "International Soccer Success and National Institutions," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 10(4), pages 369-390, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:10:y:2009:i:4:p:369-390

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Victor Matheson & Bala Ramasamy, 2006. "International women's football and gender inequality," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(15), pages 999-1001.
    2. Robert Houston & Dennis Wilson, 2002. "Income, leisure and proficiency: an economic study of football performance," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(14), pages 939-943.
    3. Andrew B. Bernard & Meghan R. Busse, 2004. "Who Wins the Olympic Games: Economic Resources and Medal Totals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 413-417, February.
    4. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Bala Ramasamy, 2002. "The Socio-Economic Determinants of International Soccer Performance," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 5, pages 253-272, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua Congdon-Hohman & Victor A. Matheson, 2013. "International women’s soccer and gender inequality: revisited," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports, chapter 16, pages 345-364 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Plácido Rodríguez & Stefan Késenne & Ruud Koning (ed.), 2015. "The Economics of Competitive Sports," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15770.
    3. Roberto Gásquez & Vicente Royuela, 2014. "Is Football an Indicator of Development at the International Level?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 827-848, July.
    4. Roberto Gásquez & Vicente Royuela, 2016. "The Determinants of International Football Success: A Panel Data Analysis of the Elo Rating," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 97(2), pages 125-141, June.
    5. Rockerbie, Duane, 2014. "Canada at the Crossroads: Improving International Performance by Establishing a New Canadian Soccer League," MPRA Paper 60375, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Berlinschi, Ruxanda & Schokkaert, Jeroen & Swinnen, Johan, 2013. "When drains and gains coincide: Migration and international football performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 1-14.
    7. Henseke, Golo, 2009. "Country performance at the International Mathematical Olympiad," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 108, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    8. Seo-Young Cho, 2013. "A League of Their Own: Female Soccer, Male Legacy and Women's Empowerment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1267, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. repec:zbw:rwirep:0501 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kavetsos, Georgios & Szymanski, Stefan, 2010. "National well-being and international sports events," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 158-171, April.
    11. repec:ris:apltrx:0327 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    soccer; FIFA rankings; institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism


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