Talent Development and Labour Market Integration in European Football

Reprint No. 2021:6

Author(s): Pehr-Johan Norbäck, Martin Olsson and Lars PerssonYear: 2021 Title: World Economy Volume (No.): 44 (2) Pages: 367–408
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Preliminary version

In this paper, we argue that altered incentives for clubs to develop star players after the Bosman ruling can explain why European football has seen lower competitive balance in the Champions League but more competitive balance at the national level. By having a profound impact on the transfers of players within the European Union (EU), the Bosman ruling led to stiffer bidding competition over football stars. We show that this spurred talent development primarily in EU countries without established top clubs having a positive impact on their junior and senior national teams' performance. However, the stiffer bidding competition also led to a lower competitive balance in the Champions League, as non‐established clubs prefer to sell their star players instead of challenging the top clubs. We provide empirical evidence consistent with these findings.

Norbäck, Pehr-Johan, Martin Olsson and Lars Persson (2021), "Talent Development and Labour Market Integration in European Football". World Economy 44(2), 367–408.

Pehr-Johan Norbäck


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Martin Olsson


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Lars Persson


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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State


This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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