All you Need is Love: The Effect of Moral Support on Performance

CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2021-005

38 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2018 Last revised: 11 Feb 2021

See all articles by Fabrizio Colella

Fabrizio Colella

University of Lausanne - Department of Economics (DEEP); Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti

Patricio S. Dalton

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER)

Giovanni Giusti

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Tecnocampus

Date Written: February 10, 2021

Abstract

This study presents unique empirical evidence on the importance of moral support for performance. We take advantage of an unusual change in Argentinean football legislation. In August 2013, as a matter of National security, the Argentinean government forced all teams in the first division to play their games with only home team supporters. Supporters of 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 find that visiting teams are, on average, about 20% more likely to lose without the presence of their supporters. As a counterfactual experiment, we run the analysis using contemporaneous cup games, where the visiting team supporters were allowed to attend, and find no effect of the ban on those games. Moreover, the ban does not affect the decisions of referees, the lineups or the market value of the teams, suggesting that the effect on team performance is due to the loss of moral support rather than other factors. Finally, we find that moral support is more relevant, and often pivotal, when there is balance of power between the two teams, suggesting that moral support compensates the power of monetary resources. This paper provides a proof of concept of moral support as an important non-monetary resource, even in settings with high monetary incentives.

Keywords: Moral Support, Encouragement, Behavioral Changes, Motivation, Non-monetary Incentives, Competitive Environments

JEL Classification: D01, D91, J24

Suggested Citation

Colella, Fabrizio and Dalton, Patricio S. and Giusti, Giovanni, All you Need is Love: The Effect of Moral Support on Performance (February 10, 2021). CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2021-005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3214533 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3214533

Fabrizio Colella (Contact Author)

University of Lausanne - Department of Economics (DEEP) ( email )

BFSH1
Lausanne, 1015
Switzerland

Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti ( email )

Via Roentgen 1,
Room 5.C1-11
Milan, Milano 20136
Italy

Patricio S. Dalton

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER) ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Giovanni Giusti

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Tecnocampus ( email )

Avinguda Ernest Lluch, 32
MatarĂ³, Barcelona 08302
Spain

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