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The Educated Underdog Becomes the Ultimate Superstar

Per Hjertstrand, Pehr-Johan Norbäck () and Lars Persson

No 1176, Working Paper Series from Research Institute of Industrial Economics

Abstract: We fi…nd an inverted relation between a player'’s birthday and the likelihood of receiving the Ballon d'’Or (awarded to the best football player in the world). We develop a multi-period skill formation model with selection into elite education. We show that those born late (underdogs) need to work harder to be selected for elite educational programs. However, those born too late will not make the cut-off. Those born late –– but not too late –– will thus end up with the highest skill levels as adults (educated underdogs). We use detailed data on the performance of elite Swedish football players to illustrate our model. These data provide strong support for the predictions of the model.

Keywords: Superstar; Skill formation; Expertise; Relative age effect; Football; Elite education (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 I20 J70 M50 Z20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 47 pages
Date: 2017-06-22
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-spo
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:1176

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