Vincenzo Alfano, Salvatore Capasso
December 18, 2019
Article number: 20190229
We attempt to test the importance of rules and cultural sedimentation on performance by analyzing what occurs in a niche sport, table soccer and inferring by extension the weight of habit formation in a more general productivity setting. This matters since firms increasingly employ workers of different cultural backgrounds, whose interplay may have an impact on performance. Our idea is to examine the differences that exist between local and international rules in a country such as Italy and find out whether athletes’ performance is affected when they compete at international level. Adapting models adopted by the literature to forecast the success in soccer and Olympic games, we study the performances of Italians and Non-Italians athletes in the International Table Soccer World Cup. We also apply an Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition to account for explained and un-explained gaps in mean values. The results seem to confirm that globalization does not affect cultural sedimentation: local habits persist and hamper the performance of top players. Local habits matter, and habits do not die easily, even in the twenty-first century.