You'll Never Walk Alone: The Effect of Moral Support on Performance
CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2018-026
30 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2018
Date Written: July 16, 2018
This study presents evidence on the role of moral support on performance in a competitive environment. We take advantage of an unusual change in the Argentinean football legislation. In August 2013, as a matter of National security, the Argentinean government forced all the teams of the first division to play their games with only home team supporters. Supporters of the visiting teams were not allowed to be in stadiums during league games. We estimate the effect of this exogenous variation of supporters on team performance, and we find that visiting teams are, on average, about 20% more likely to lose without their supporters. Moreover, we find that the lack of supporters of the visiting team increased the score differential between the home team and the visitor. The effect of the ban is stronger for big teams, who have the highest number of supporters when playing away. In addition, we find no evidence of changes of referees' decisions due to the ban, suggesting that the effect on team performance is due to the loss of moral support rather than a change in referees hostility. As placebo test, we run the analysis using contemporaneous cup matches, where the visiting team supporters were allowed to attend. We find no effect of the ban on the cup games, which provides additional empirical support to our findings. Our results offer unique and novel empirical evidence of the importance on moral support on performance.
Keywords: Support, Encouragement, Motivation, Football, Team Performance, Nonmonetary
JEL Classification: D01, D91, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation