The new FEA postdoc Luca Fumarco examines the connection between sport success and birth rate

16 Nov 2021 Kateřina Oleksíková

International media reported a baby boom in Iceland nine months after the EURO 2016 win against England, and an increase in births in Barcelona after a last-minute goal in the 2009 Champions League semi-final. Luca Fumarco decided to verify through empirical testing the assumption that a success of the team leads to an increase in births among fans.

I combined Eurostat data on country-level monthly birth rates for 50 European countries, over 56 years, with national football teams’ performance in UEFA European Championships and FIFA World Cups,” the researcher describes his work in which he cooperated with Francesco Principe, an assistant professor at the University of Padua. What were the findings of the research? A great performance during these competitions decreases births nine months later by about three percentage points compared to the usual amount of birth rate in the same period.

Based on previous literature, Fumarco’s research discusses that other entertainment activities might have similar, but unwanted effects in countries with low fertility, where governments typically aim at increasing fertility. On the other hand, in high-fertility settings, such as developing countries, governments may aim at reducing births, even with indirect interventions, such as increasing access to entertainment activities and TV.

Luca Fumarco obtained a PhD at the Linnaeus University in Sweden and spent the past two years as a postdoc at the Tulane University, in New Orleans. One of the reasons he decided for the Faculty of Economics and Administration was his desire to return to Europe. “Besides that, I liked the idea of working within a young and expanding department that focuses on topics that are part of my research agenda, such as discrimination,” says Fumarco, who teaches the courses in Intermediate Microeconomics and Labor Economics, starting at the FEA in the autumn semester.

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