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Altitude as handicap in rank-order football tournaments

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  • Casas, Agustin
  • Fawaz, Yarine

Abstract

In 2007, based on medical reports, FIFA ruled that no international football competition could be played in stadiums with an altitude higher than 2500 meters. We provide stark evidence which supports the claim that playing in high altitude benefits the home team through two channels. First, in these scenarios, high altitude teams (HAT) do better against low altitude teams than against other high altitude teams. Second, every time that low altitude teams visit other high altitude teams they get fewer points than if they had played in a low altitude stadium. Therefore, the HAT go up in the ranking of the southamerican qualifiers for world cups, not only because of their own extra-advantage of playing in high altitudes, but also because the LAT do worse in all high altitude stadiums. According to our work, have this ruling taken effect, Ecuador would not have gone to the 2006 world cup, and therefore Ecuador's Football Federation would have lost at least 40 million dollars given out by FIFA to all teams going to the world cup.

Suggested Citation

  • Casas, Agustin & Fawaz, Yarine, 2013. "Altitude as handicap in rank-order football tournaments," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1316, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we1316
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
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    3. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Canice Prendergast, 2005. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 208-216, May.
    4. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Priks, Mikael, 2010. "Behavior under social pressure: Empty Italian stadiums and referee bias," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 212-214, August.
    5. Rómulo A. Chumacero, 2009. "Altitude or Hot Air?," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 10(6), pages 619-638, December.
    6. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
    7. Armando Levy & Tomislav Vukina, 2004. "The League Composition Effect in Tournaments with Heterogeneous Players: An Empirical Analysis of Broiler Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 353-378, April.
    8. Knoeber, Charles R & Thurman, Walter N, 1994. "Testing the Theory of Tournaments: An Empirical Analysis of Broiler Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 155-179, April.
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