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Migration and labour market success : The special case of professional football?

Title data

Renz, Michael:
Migration and labour market success : The special case of professional football?
Event: XIth Annual Conference of the European Sport Economics Association (ESEA) , 28.08.-30.08.2019 , Gijon.
(Conference item: Conference , Speech )

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Abstract in another language

The vast majority of studies on European labour markets show that a migrant background generally leads to less career success or less individual outcome on the labour market of the new home country (Algan, Dustmann, Glitz, & Manning, 2010; Combes, Decreuse, Laouénan, & Trannoy, 2016; Granato, 2003; Kalter & Granato, 2018; Smoliner, 2011). Basically, for migrants of the so-called second and third generation this observation can also be confirmed by empirical findings, albeit in a modified manner (Algan, Dustmann, Glitz, & Manning, 2010; Fincke, 2009; Seibert, 2008). Notably, a worse labour market outcome of subsequent migrant generations can be observed for migrants stemming from low-income countries with poor education standards (Kalter & Granato, 2018). One main reason for this, among other factors, is the tendency that immigrant children in Europe are generally less integrated into the education system of the host country and therefore generate less human capital than people without migration background (Kalter & Granato, 2018). But even in the case of similar human capital human capital endowment, the labour market performance of migrant workers differ significantly from those people without migration background. At least, this holds true for the first generation of migrants and second generation migrants from specific countries of origin (Hartmann, 2016; Seibert & Solga, 2005). A notable exception to this pattern of a worse labour market outcome for people with migration background is made for migrants coming from wealthy regions, such as North America or Western Europe. People migrating from these regions even tend to "outperform" the relevant domestic cohort in terms of labour market success (Kalter & Granato, 2018). However, the majority of these migrants are subject to a targeted recruitment by the economy of the host country. Thus, these cases reflect a positively selective immigration of highly skilled people without the risk of discrimination (Borjas, 1987). In this context, references are also made to “elite migration” (Erfurt & Amelina, 2008; Laudel, 2005).
Besides the achievement of a high salary, labour market success in professional football is demonstrated by the employment in the best leagues and, above all, by the appointment to a national team. In a simplified scheme, national teams are selections of the best players of a country and thus indicate the greatest possible success with respect to football careers. A high proportion of foreign players in Europe's best football leagues thus displays a particularly large success of people with migration background on football labour markets (Besson & Poli, 2014, p. 6; Frick & Simmons, 2015). A large part of this, however, is the result of a targeted recruitment of highly skilled workers on the international player transfer markets and thus the equivalent, so to speak, of elite labour migration and a positively selective immigration (Campbell, 2011; Maguire & Pearton, 2000). In this respect, the labour markets of sport and other economic sectors are similar, although the extent of positively selective labour migration in professional football and other team sports is significantly higher.
In contrast to other industries, the football labour markets are characterized by disproportionate success for subsequent migrant generations from poorer countries of origin, although they were not the subject of targeted recruitment. This statement is at least obvious when the national football team compositions of typical European immigration countries, such as Belgium and France, are considered. In these countries, a disproportionately large number of players with migration background appear to achieve an appointment to the respective national team, the greatest possible success on football labour markets. For example, 18 out of 23 players in the French squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, or 78.26%, have direct migration experience. The Belgian national team, for instance, has 12 players or a 52% share of players with a migration background.
The aim of the present study is to examine the thesis of a significant higher success probability and outcome for people with migration experience on football labour markets.
For this reason, the squads and players of all national teams participating in FIFA World Cup 2018 and UEFA European Championship 2016 (n= 1.288) were critically analysed using statistical and econometric procedures. In a first step, a dependency analysis between the overall population share of migration background and the corresponding characteristics of football national teams will be carried out. The analysis finds statistically significant differences for at least six European countries. In the national teams of these countries, players with migration background are strongly overrepresented compared to the expected share based on population data. In a second step, a regression analysis is conducted to seek empirical evidence for country-specific reasons and sporting consequences.
The results provide a sound statistical basis for a deviating constellation of the labour market situation compared to other industries. It would seem that the training systems of the football labour markets somehow allow for a more efficient integration process of people with migration background. Therefore, in a next step, an attempt will be made to provide possible reasons for this situation by relying on the sparse theoretical work. Furthermore, the question will be dealt which conclusions and, if applicable, recommendations for action can be derived for school and vocational settings.

Further data

Item Type: Conference item (Speech)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Migration; Sports Labour Markets; Football; National Teams; World Cup; European Championship; Individual Success
Institutions of the University: ?? 152002 ??
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
?? 152000 ??
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: ?? DDC300330 ??
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 09:22
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2020 10:04
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/53212