nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2014‒08‒09
two papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Gasping for Air: Soccer players’ performance at high-altitude By Jorge Tovar
  2. The superstar quest: Does youth talent predict professional success for female and male tennis players? By Michael Jetter; Wayne A. Grove

  1. By: Jorge Tovar
    Abstract: A number of soccer officials have long debated whether to ban soccer games played at high altitudes above sea level. This paper explores soccer player’s performance when playing at high elevations using data obtained from the Copa Libertadores. I propose a range of direct indicators of player performance when playing at high altitudes: the number of total passes, the number of passes in the opposition’s half, and the number of successful passes. I also review the effects on the percentage of successful passes and the percentage of successful passes in the opponents’ half of the field. The performance indicators compare player outcomes when playing away above 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) relative to when they play away below that threshold. The results suggest that, for the most part, altitude has no impact. It does, however, have an impact on variables related to the way a player performs when faced with risky decisions. In particular, I find that the percentage of successful passes rises by about 5.6 percentage points, mostly driven by each player’s behavior in his own half. My findings suggest that players (and coaches) adapt to the conditions.
    Keywords: Soccer, High-Altitude Performance, Soccer Players’ Performance, Impact Evaluation
    JEL: L83 C21
    Date: 2014–06–19
  2. By: Michael Jetter; Wayne A. Grove
    Abstract: We estimate the relationship between international youth and professional tennis rankings. We find no difference between the predictiveness of rankings from age 14 & Under versus age 16 & Under competitions. The most persistent predictor of professional success is beating older top ranked juniors. Our results reveal stark gender differences. For example, ordinal junior rankings are more strongly associated with professional success for males than for females. In addition, future tennis stars are better signaled by U14 competition outcomes for females, but by U16 results for males.
    Keywords: productivity measures, labor supply, career outcomes, tennis
    JEL: D82 D91 J16 J22 J24
    Date: 2014–04–14

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