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Democracy and football

Author

Listed:
  • Ignacio Lago
  • Carlos Lago-Peñas
  • Santiago Lago-Peñas

Abstract

In this paper we explore to what extent political regimes affect the competitive balance in domestic football (soccer) leagues. Relying on data from around 50 European countries and over 2,000 domestic leagues, we show that the percentage of league competitions won by the most successful club in the country is substantially lower in democracies than in non-democracies. Democratic transitions and higher levels of democracy trigger pressures to increase the competitive balance in football leagues in two ways. First, the link between non-democracies and specific teams breaks when a country experiences a transition to democracy. Second, the economic liberalization that takes place in transitions to democracy disperses resources and generates competition among descending and ascending teams. Finally, the competitive balance of domestic leagues has not been greatly affected by the Bosman transfer ruling, a sectorial liberalization shock on football labor markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Ignacio Lago & Carlos Lago-Peñas & Santiago Lago-Peñas, 2015. "Democracy and football," Working Papers. Collection B: Regional and sectoral economics 1501, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:gov:wpregi:1501
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    File URL: http://infogen.webs.uvigo.es/WPB/WP1501.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stefan Szymanski, 2000. "A Market Test for Discrimination in the English Professional Soccer Leagues," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 590-603, June.
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    5. John J. Binder & Murray Findlay, 2012. "The Effects of the Bosman Ruling on National and Club Teams in Europe," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 13(2), pages 107-129, April.
    6. Simon Rottenberg, 1956. "The Baseball Players' Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 242-242.
    7. John Vrooman, 2007. "Theory Of The Beautiful Game: The Unification Of European Football," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(3), pages 314-354, July.
    8. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
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    10. José Cheibub & Jennifer Gandhi & James Vreeland, 2010. "Democracy and dictatorship revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 67-101, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Democracy; Football; Market; Political Regime; Transition;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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