We empirically investigate age and ability as potentially important drivers of individual misconduct in team contests.
We estimate fixed effects regression models using data from top-level soccer. In addition, we carry out a comprehensive sensitivity analysis.
Our estimates indicate a significant positive association between a player’s age, on the one hand, and his (relative) ability, on the other, with the propensity to misbehave.
Our results are consistent with social learning theory, in the sense that the high-status group of players may have learned that the consequences of misbehavior are small and manageable. Furthermore, we demonstrate that misbehavior is costly to both the players and their teams.