The economics of cricket and football over the centuries

Learning more about economic and social outcomes from the vast amounts of data sports generate

Department: Economics

Supervised by: James Reade

The Placement Project

Data on sporting outcomes go back centuries; football match outcomes are recorded with detail back to the late nineteenth century and cricket scorecards record vast detail on contests back to the early eighteenth century. Given the tremendous economic and social change that has occurred over this time period, such data offer great potential for investigation. Sporting outcomes reflect complex joint production of a good between many firms. These firms invest in resources, and outcomes depend on other factors affecting the productivity of inputs, such as the rules of the game, and exogenous broader events like public health initiatives and military activity. Such extensive reporting of outcomes where rules are well known, is of great interest to economists and hence this UROP will consider a range of aspects of sporting outcomes over this rich and long history. The UROP will help to establish the viability of research in the following areas: 1, Productivity and exogenous shocks: Evaluate the impact of the two World Wars on sport via the productivity of teams before and after the events. 2, Demand for sport and changing social habits: Is demand for sport attendance too different in 2016 to compare to the 1950s, or 1900s? 3, Sport and the labour market: How does free movement of labour affect firm investment in human capital? This list is inexhaustive, may be added to by findings by the UROP, and the UROP will pursue the most productive research leads further in the second half of the placement.


1, Familiarisation with existing literature (0.5 weeks). 2, Creation of datasets to replicate results of existing studies (1 week). 3, Extension of datasets to 2017 where appropriate (1 week). 4, Analysis of resulting datasets (1.5 weeks). 5, Contribution to further research (2 weeks).

Skills, knowledge and experience required

1, Data manipulation and analysis (ideally familiarity with Stata or R, not essential but willingness to learn essential). 2, Communication skills for contacting published authors, football associations and other potential sources of important data (e.g. archives, libraries). 3, Presentation skills for reporting findings effectively to PI.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

1, Greater familiarity with econometric software packages and Excel. 2, Presentation and communication skills. 3, Potential for student to become joint author on research produced.

Place of Work

School of Politics Economics and International Relations

Hours of Work


Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 12 June 2017 - Friday 21 July 2017

How to Apply

1, Application: CV and brief covering letter, detailing experience with econometric software and data manipulation.2, Interview with PI and CI.3, Feedback will be provided to all applicants. Please apply directly to the supervisor by the closing date of Friday 21st April.

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