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Soccer and Status

A new paper by Feng Chi and Nathan Yang asks a seemingly simple question: “Is there actually a link between (subjective) social status and wealth?” During the 2010 World Cup, the social networking site asked users to rate the attractiveness of all players in the tournament, a measure which Chi and Yang use as a proxy for social status. The authors find that “we are able to see that GDP per capita has a significant and positive effect on a country’s social status, even after controlling for the country’s FIFA ranking, level of income inequality and number of internet users.” The authors also found status effects for winning and losing World Cup matches. Yang is hoping for insightful comments and criticism from Freakonomics readers, so fire away in the comments section. [%comments]