The Returns to Scarce Talent: Footedness and Player Remuneration in European Soccer

Publication date: 16 Sep 2009 | Publication type: NIESR Discussion Paper | NIESR Author(s): Bryson, A | External Author(s): Frick, B. and Simmons, R. | JEL Classification: L83 | NIESR Discussion Paper Number: 339

We investigate the salary returns to the ability to play football with both feet. The majority of footballers are predominantly right footed. Using two data sets, a cross-section of footballers in the five main European leagues and a panel of players in the German Bundesliga, we find robust evidence of a substantial salary premium for two-footed ability, even after controlling for available player performance measures. We assess how this premium varies across the salary distribution and by player position.

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