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International Soccer Success and National Institutions

  • Eva Marikova Leeds


    (Moravian College)

  • Michael A. Leeds


    (University of Michigan)

A growing literature has examined what characteristics lead countries to succeed or fail in international soccer. We build on this literature by building a model of national success, where success is measured by the number of “FIFA points” a national team earned. We use the model to generate testable hypotheses regarding the impact of a nation’s political heritage and institutions on its soccer performance. Using OLS and Poisson regressions, we corroborate previous studies and find that success increases with income, population, and having hosted a World Cup competition. We also find that a country’s political institutions and colonial heritage affect its soccer performance. In particular, being a wealthy democracy adds greatly to soccer performance. We also find that the success of a country’s club teams is a good predictor of the national team’s success. We conclude that club success reflects a nation’s willingness and ability to finance soccer success.

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Paper provided by International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists in its series Working Papers with number 0702.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:spe:wpaper:0702
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  1. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Victor Matheson & Bala Ramasamy, 2006. "International women's football and gender inequality," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(15), pages 999-1001.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & Meghan R. Busse, 2004. "Who Wins the Olympic Games: Economic Resources and Medal Totals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 413-417, February.
  3. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Bala Ramasamy, 2002. "The Socio-Economic Determinants of International Soccer Performance," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 253-272, November.
  4. Robert Houston & Dennis Wilson, 2002. "Income, leisure and proficiency: an economic study of football performance," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(14), pages 939-943.
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