Discussion Paper of the Institute for Organisational Economics 7/2016

The Strongest Link in a Weak Team?
Performance of Players With and Without Outside Options in Relegated Football Clubs

Michael Müller
July 2016



In this study the performance of players in relegated German football clubs is analysed, in particular the change in their contribution to team production. The players in the data sample differ regarding their outside options. Different career opportunities of players may have two effects when their current team struggles against relegation. First, players with outside options should be less motivated compared to the reference group. Second, risk attitudes of players who lack career opportunities may change. The empirical results show that players with outside options contribute less to the teams overall running distance before they are transferred to league opponents. Players who stayed after relegation with their teams played more incomplete passes, which indicates that they are more willing to take risks. Effort levels of staying players get higher, but leaving players might have superior playing talent.