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Making a Maradona: Meat Consumption and Soccer Prowess


  • Martín A. Rossi

    (Universidad de San Andrés)

  • Christian A. Ruzzier

    (Universidad de San Andrés)


We provide novel evidence that poor individuals born in countries with high consumption of meat are more likely to show soccer prowess. Our findings are robust to controlling for population, per capita income, and interest in soccer. We posit that the combination of relatively cheap meat and low opportunity costs of engaging in a career in professional soccer can explain this association between meat consumption, low socioeconomic status, and soccer prowess. Access to cheap meat implies a higher quality diet, which allows for the development of the cognitive functions required to excel in soccer. Poverty implies a low opportunity cost of putting those improved cognitive functions to use in soccer.

Suggested Citation

  • Martín A. Rossi & Christian A. Ruzzier, 2022. "Making a Maradona: Meat Consumption and Soccer Prowess," Working Papers 161, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE).
  • Handle: RePEc:aoz:wpaper:161

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gabrielle Fack & Julien Grenet, 2015. "Improving College Access and Success for Low-Income Students: Evidence from a Large Need-Based Grant Program," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 1-34, April.
    2. Corneliu Bolbocean & Frances A. Tylavsky & James E. West, 2018. "U.S. Safety Net Programs and Early Life Skills Formation: Results from a Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study," NBER Working Papers 24832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    1. Sunday assorted links
      by ? in Marginal Revolution on 2022-07-24 17:33:30

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    More about this item


    Sports; Meat consumption; Soccer; Nutrition; Poverty; Cognitive functions.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z20 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - General
    • Z22 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - Labor Issues
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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