Thursday, September 21, 2006

Are you ready for some fútbol?

Uruguay soccerAh, if only educational outcomes were as crisp as those in sports. They aren't, of course, but far be it from a forum named MoneyLaw to ignore the world of sports as a source of wisdom.

Consider Mobility between Employers and Assortative Matching: Field Evidence from Soccer Data, a new paper by Uruguayan scholar Nestor Gandelman:
Job mobility is an outstanding characteristic of most labor markets. However, the economic literature for the most part has focused on occupational choice and has not paid attention to whether this mobility implies movements to better or worse firms. One reason for this is that in general it is not possible to establish if the new employer is better or worse than the previous employer. In sports markets there is a very natural way to rank firms (clubs). We exploit this simple idea to study the determinants of promotions and demotions of workers between employers and empirically test the existence of assortative matching. We find that performance is positively correlated with player's career. There is a matching between good teams and good players and vice versa. Players with better performance have higher probabilities of being promoted and players with worse performance have higher probabilities of being demoted. Older players and players that have been transfered in the past have higher mobility but not a clear tendency to be promoted or demoted.
One facet of international soccer (and other sports overseas) that is missing from American sports is relegation. Perform badly, and you are banished to a lower league. Imagine: the Kansas City Royals would have been consigned to the Pacific Coast League long ago, with the resulting American League vacancy available to the likes of the Salt Lake City Buzz or the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons.

How relegation might work in academia is left as an exercise for the reader.

Gracías a D. Daniel Sokol por la noticia de este desarollo en la literatura universitaria sobre el deporte de fútbol y sus jugadores.


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