Workshop ECASE


Workshop on Sports Economics and Management
Date: 23 February 2018

Location: Faculty Club, 17th Floor, Tinbergen building, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Preliminary program





Press Meeting

Erasmus Pavilion



Faculty club H17


Kerry Papps, University of Bath (UK)

Rivium room



Alex Krumer, University of Sankt Gallen (CH)


Stefan Szymanski, University of Michigan (US)


Thijs Velema, National Sun Yat-sen University (TW)


Jan van Ours, Erasmus School of Economics (NL)


Dinner and drinks

Excelsior Stadium

    • Authors: Wayne Grove (Le Moyne College) and Michael Jetter (University of Western Australia) and Kerry Papps (University of Bath)
    • Abstract: How does the presence of superstars, who earn vast amounts, affect the participation of more modestly-talented workers in a winner-take-all labor market? We use longitudinal data on junior and professional tennis players to examine how the decision to pursue this extremely risky career is related to the earnings a player is likely to receive in the future. We find that teenage players prefer high mean earnings and a low variance, but are also attracted to highly-skewed earnings distributions – just like gamblers at horse races or in lotteries. The magnitudes of the skewness effects we estimate are much smaller than in studies of regular gambling behavior; however, they are still sizeable. If the skewness were to fall to zero, boys would be around 20% less likely on average to continue in the sport, whereas girls would be 5% less likely to continue. A side-effect of winner-take-all labor markets therefore is an increase in participation, even among those who have a negligible chance of earning large amounts.
    • Authors: Ken Harb-Wu (University of Sankt Gallen) and Alex Krumer (University of Sankt Gallen)
    • Abstract: Performing in front of a supportive audience increases motivation. However, it also creates a psychological pressure, which may impair performance, especially in precision tasks. In this paper, we exploit a unique setting in which professionals compete in a real-life contest with high monetary rewards in order to assess how they respond to the presence of a supportive audience. Using the task of shooting in sprint competitions of professional biathlon events over the period of sixteen years, our fixed effects estimations show that high-profile biathletes miss significantly more shots when competing in front of a supportive audience. Our results are in line with the hypothesis that a friendly environment induces individuals to choke when performing skill-based tasks.
    • Authors: Tunde Buraimo (University of Liverpool), Rob Simmons (Lancaster University) and Stefan Szymanski (University of Michigan)
    • Abstract: It is well known that there were significant regional imbalances in British economic growth during the interwar period, most notably the development of the north-south divide. However, the precise distribution of these effects is difficult to establish given the lack of comprehensive statistics for demand at regional rather than the national level. This paper matches 70 English urban districts which hosted at least one professional football club and uses two different sources to measure changes in demand. The first is a set of ledgers from the Football League which records weekly attendance and revenues for each club (1925-1939); the second are the financial accounts obtained from Companies House (1920-1939). After controlling for the effect of club popularity (measured by success in the League) the data illustrates the timing and location of expansions and contractions in local economies across England. This provides a finer-grained picture of the pattern of demand shifts during the inter-war period than is usually possible.
    • Author: Thijs Velema (National Sun Yat-sen University)
    • Abstract: One question facing workers in today’s highly mobile external labor markets is how to move between organizations and develop boundaryless careers that are positively evaluated. Examining this question in the context of European professional football, this study departs from previous research conceptualizing market values as a function of performance and human capital characteristics. Instead, this study argues that market observers face imperfect information when estimating the value of players, which they overcome by using job mobility as a signal for the qualities, skills, and playing potential of footballers. Analyzing a unique longitudinal dataset of 1,670 professional player careers with fixed effects panel regressions, results indicate that upward mobility is a positive signal shifting observers’ estimations of player market values up and downward mobility is a negative signal pushing market values down. Each extra move up leads to an additional increase in market values and the negative impact of downward mobility decreases when players take up more important roles in their new team. The impact of mobility on player market values is thus contingent on broader career patterns and the context in which job mobility takes place.
    • Authors: Jan C. van Ours (Erasmus School of Economics)
    • Abstract: In the Netherlands, in the top tier of professional football six teams play their home matches on an artificial pitch while the other 12 teams play their home matches on natural grass. Using data of matches in the seasons 2014/15 to 2016/17 this paper investigates whether or not home teams who play on an artificial pitch have an additional home advantage at the expense of teams who play their home matches on natural grass. The main finding is, that this is indeed the case. This suggests that allowing some teams to use an artificial pitch is at odds with a level playing field.

Practical organization

  • Please register by e-mail to before February 15th 2018. Coffee will be served during all breaks. Participation to lunch, coffee and academic sessions is free of charge. Participation in workshop dinner costs €40 p.p.
  • The organizers of this workshop are Dr Thomas Peeters, Prof. Jan van Ours, and Prof. Enrico Pennings. For further practical information, please contact