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Decomposing competitive balance in the major European football leagues: a Rawlsian approach

Carlos Santiago-Caballero () and Fernández-Roldán Díaz, Alejandro

IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola

Abstract: The study of competitive balance in sports has received considerable attention in the academic literature, mainly as a consequence of the effect that it could have on the interest of society in the competitions analyzed. However, most of the studies have focused on the total competitive balance, without taking into account the methodological importance of decomposing it. This paper analyzes competitive balance in the Spanish, English, Italian and German football leagues between 1975 and 2016, and the internal dynamics behind the changes experienced. Our results show a considerable decrease in the total competitive balance in recent decades, although the dynamics behind the increases in inequality are different in the four leagues. Focusing on Rawlsian principles, our analysis shows that the Spanish competition is the only league in which the promoted teams do not have a higher probability of being relegated, and therefore, the competition in which incumbent teams suffer lower entry barriers and have higher chances of survival.

Keywords: Rawlsian; inequality; competitive; balance; European; leagues; Football (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 L13 L83 Z20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul, nep-eur and nep-spo
Date: 2017-06
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