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The Effect of Talent Disparity on Team Performance in Soccer

  • Egon Franck


    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Stephan NŸesch


    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

This paper studies the relationship between talent disparity and team productivity based on panel data from German soccer teams. Holding average ability and unobserved team heterogeneity constant, we find evidence that the players selected to play on the competition team should be rather homogeneous regarding their playing talent. If, however, the team is defined at the preparatory stage, which includes all training activities, talent disparity turns out to be beneficial. In a first model, we analyze match-level data to test the talent composition effects of the fielded team on the final score of the game. In a second model, we include the reserve players as well and relate talent differences within the entire squad to the teamÕs (inverted) league standing at the end of the season as the ultimate measure of long-run team effectiveness. At the competition stage of team production, the gameÕs result depends on all team members performing at or above some threshold level of proficiency. At the preparatory stage of team production, however, aspects like mutual learning seem to be more important.

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Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Working Papers with number 0087.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision: 2009
Publication status: forthcoming in Journal of Economic Psychology
Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0087
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  1. Egon Franck & Stephan Nüesch, 2007. "Talent and/or Popularity - What Does it Take to Be a Superstar," Working Papers 0018, University of Zurich, Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA).
  2. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:2:p:681-704 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  16. Fiona Carmichael & Dennis Thomas & Robert Ward, 2000. "Team performance: the case of English Premiership football," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 31-45.
  17. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. David J. Berri, 1999. "Who is 'most valuable'? Measuring the player's production of wins in the National Basketball Association," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 411-427.
  19. Peter Arcidiacono & Gigi Foster & Natalie Goodpaster & Josh Kinsler, 2012. "Estimating spillovers using panel data, with an application to the classroom," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 421-470, November.
  20. Todd D. Kendall, 2003. "Spillovers, Complementarities, and Sorting in Labor Markets with an Application to Professional Sports," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 389-402, October.
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