Carl Bialik (previously known as The Numbers Guy) at 538 argues that Manchester United was exceptionally lucky in Alex Ferguson’s last season, and that David Moyes just kept steady a downward trend. Bialik’s point is that looking at finer measures of performance than simply points, such as the share of shots taken and the goal differential, United should not have done as well as ghey did last year, so Moyes should not be blamed for the (apparent) decline this year. There is a nice graph of the development of United’s share of shots taken the last 12 years in the post showing this clearly.
“Is soccer good for you? The motivational impact of big sporting events on the unemployed” is an article in Economic Letters (ungated) by Philipp Doerrenberg and Sebastian Siegloch at IZA that I believe a lot of people wished they had written. The authors analyze the effect of the Euro Cup and the World Cup on the unemployed in Germany:
We examine the effect of salient international soccer tournaments on the motivation of unemployed individuals to search for employment using the German Socio Economic Panel 1984–2010. Exploiting the random scheduling of survey interviews […] We show that respondents who are interviewed after a tournament have an increased motivation to work but, at the same time, request higher reservation wages. Furthermore, the sporting events increase the perceived health status as well as worries about the general economic situation. We also find effects on the subjective well-being of men.
The unemployed are made more motivated to work and more worried, and to perceive themselves as being healthier, but men’s well-being is decreased. Ht: Kevin Lewis.
Glen Nielsen measured children’s movement using accelerometers – devices measuring the number and strength of the children’s accelerations – for his PhD project. ScienceNordic reports that the children exhibited the most intense physical activity during free play rather than organized sport. I am a supporter of organized sport for many different reasons, but it is important to let children’s areas allow them to create their own exercise, such as tree-climbing, football, and other types of games.
H/t: Merete Lund Fasting writing in Aftenposten.