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Is Football a Matter of Life and Death – Or is it more Important than that?

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  • Peter Dolton
  • George MacKerron

Abstract

Football is the national sport of most of the planet. This paper examines how happy the outcomes of football matches make us. We calibrate these results relative to other activities and estimate the dynamic effects these exogenous events have on our utility over time. We find that football – on average – makes us unhappier – so why would we go through the pain of following a football team. This behavioural choice paradox occupies much of the paper so we investigate why we go on following our teams, even though matches make us more unhappy on average. We examine how much our story changes if we examine the dynamic effects of football matches over time in different hours before and after the game and the extent to which our happiness is influenced by what we would rationally expect the result to be beforehand – as based on the betting odds.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Dolton & George MacKerron, 2018. "Is Football a Matter of Life and Death – Or is it more Important than that?," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 493, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:nsr:niesrd:493
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    File URL: https://www.niesr.ac.uk/sites/default/files/publications/DP493.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    2. Luis Rayo & Gary S. Becker, 2007. "Habits, Peers, and Happiness: An Evolutionary Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 487-491, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    happiness; football; behavioural economics; irrationality; dynamic effects of outcomes; framed subjective utility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • Z20 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - General

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