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Wealth and Status: Analyzing the Perceived Attractiveness of 2010 FIFA World Cup Players


  • Chi, Feng
  • Yang, Nathan


Dating back to Veblen (1899), theoretical and empirical studies about conspicuous consumption have largely stipulated associations between social status and income. This paper focuses on the supply of status and tests the underlying assumption by using a data on the attractiveness ratings for the World Cup 2010 athletes from the social networking website Treating the data as a team-player panel, we find that the 32 country fixed effects are positively associated with GDP per capita, even after controlling for the team's ex ante Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rank, Gini coefficient, and number of internet users. Furthermore, there is no obvious correlation between each country's GDP per capita and its FIFA rank, which suggests that income is related to these "status" fixed effects through some direct channel. In other words, there is indeed a link between a country's social status and its economic development. We caution though that income is not an exclusive driver of status, as ability, age, game outcome and race also matter.

Suggested Citation

  • Chi, Feng & Yang, Nathan, 2010. "Wealth and Status: Analyzing the Perceived Attractiveness of 2010 FIFA World Cup Players," MPRA Paper 23881, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23881

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Nikolai Roussanov, 2009. "Conspicuous Consumption and Race," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 425-467.
    2. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
    3. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
    4. Omer Moav & Zvika Neeman, 2010. "Status and Poverty," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 413-420, 04-05.
    5. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Hortaçsu & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-163, March.
    6. Friedman, Daniel & Ostrov, Daniel N., 2008. "Conspicuous consumption dynamics," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 121-145, September.
    7. Fryer Jr., Roland G. & Torelli, Paul, 2010. "An empirical analysis of 'acting white'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(5-6), pages 380-396, June.
    8. Benjamin R. Mandel, 2009. "Art as an Investment and Conspicuous Consumption Good," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1653-1663, September.
    9. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-373, June.
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    More about this item


    Attractiveness; discrimination; fixed-effects estimation; social status; standard-of-living.;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics

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