Document Type

Working Paper

Date of This Version

8-1-2011

Abstract

A number of authors have identified the determinants of success in international sporting competitions such as the Olympics and soccer’s World Cup. This paper serves to update past work on international women’s soccer performance given the rapid development of the game over the past decade. We compare the determinants of men’s international soccer team performance with that of their female counterparts and find that a different set of variables are important in explaining success for the two genders. While economic and demographic influences hold for both, the impacts of specific political and cultural factors diverge. In particular, Latin heritage predicts men’s success but not women’s, Muslim religious affiliation reduces women’s success but not men’s, and communist political systems tend to improve women’s performance but reduce men’s performance. Several measures of gender equality improve soccer performance for both men’s and women’s soccer suggesting these indicators of gender equality reflect overall levels of development while other measures of equality, particularly those related to women’s access to education, improve women’s soccer performance without enhancing men’s performance.

Working Paper Number

1107

Included in

Economics Commons

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