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TALENT AND/OR POPULARITY: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A SUPERSTAR?

Authors

  • EGON FRANCK,

    1. Franck: Full Professor, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zürich, Plattenstrasse 14, Zürich 8032, Switzerland. Phone 0041-44-634-2845, Fax 0041-44-634-4348, E-mail egon.franck@business.uzh.ch
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  • STEPHAN NÜESCH

    1. Nüesch: Senior Teaching and Research Associate, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zürich, Plattenstrasse 14, Zürich 8032, Switzerland. Phone 0041-44-634-2914, Fax 0041-44-634-4348, E-mail stephan.nuesch@business.uzh.ch
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    • We are grateful to Leif Brandes, Stefan Szymanski, Rainer Winkelmann, two anonymous referees, and to the seminar participants at the Western Economic Association conference 2007 in Seattle, the Workshop of Commission of Organization 2008 in Munich, and the Annual Meeting of the German Academic Association for Business Research 2008 in Berlin for helpful comments. Remaining errors are, of course, our own.


Abstract

We show that both talent and popularity significantly contribute to stars' market values in German soccer. The talent-versus-popularity controversy on the sources of stardom goes back to Rosen (1981) and Adler (1985). All attempts to resolve the controversy empirically face the difficulty of accurately identifying talent. In professional sports, rank-order tournaments help in ascertaining talent. Analyzing a team setting, we use 20 different performance indicators to estimate a player's talent according to his ability to increase the team's winning probability. (JEL J31, J44, L83)

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