Making a Maradona: Meat Consumption and Soccer Prowess

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July 2022
Paper author(s): 
Martín A. Rossi
Christian A. Ruzzier
Education - Health

We provide novel evidence that poor individuals born in countries with high consumption of meat are more likely to show soccer prowess. Our findings are robust to controlling for population, per capita income, and interest in soccer. We posit that the combination of relatively cheap meat and low opportunity costs of engaging in a career in professional soccer can explain this association between meat consumption, low socioeconomic status, and soccer prowess. Access to cheap meat implies a higher quality diet, which allows for the development of the cognitive functions required to excel in soccer. Poverty implies a low opportunity cost of putting those improved cognitive functions to use in soccer.


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