The Pitch Rather than the Pit: Investor Inattention During FIFA World Cup Matches

38 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2012

See all articles by Michael Ehrmann

Michael Ehrmann

European Central Bank (ECB); Bank of Canada

David-Jan Jansen

De Nederlandsche Bank

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 16, 2012


At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, many soccer matches were played during stock market trading hours, providing us with a natural experiment to analyze fluctuations in investor attention. Using minute-by-minute trading data for fifteen international stock exchanges, we present three key findings. First, when the national team was playing, the number of trades dropped by 45%, while volumes were 55% lower. Second, market activity was influenced by match events. For instance, a goal caused an additional drop in trading activity by 5%. The magnitude of this reduction resembles what is observed during lunchtime, and as such might not be indicative for shifts in attention. However, our third finding is that the co-movement between national and global stock market returns decreased by over 20% during World Cup matches, whereas no comparable decoupling can be found during lunchtime. We conclude that stock markets were following developments on the soccer pitch rather than in the trading pit, leading to a changed price formation process.

Keywords: investor inattention, stock markets, trading volume, high-frequency data, soccer

JEL Classification: G12, G14, G15

Suggested Citation

Ehrmann, Michael and Jansen, David-Jan, The Pitch Rather than the Pit: Investor Inattention During FIFA World Cup Matches (February 16, 2012). De Nederlandsche Bank Working Paper No. 337, Available at SSRN: or

Michael Ehrmann (Contact Author)

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314
+49 69 1344/7327 (Phone)
+49 69 1344/6000 (Fax)

Bank of Canada ( email )

234 Wellington Street
Ontario, Ottawa K1A 0G9

David-Jan Jansen

De Nederlandsche Bank ( email )

P.O. Box 98
1000 AB Amsterdam


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