How to pick your World Cup team (hint: root for Nigeria)

From The New York Times: An Economist’s Guide to World Cup Rooting: The Leaders

Dean Karlan, a Yale economist, has calculated a score for each World Cup team, based on its population, poverty level and interest in soccer. He argues a Nigeria championship would bring the most aggregate happiness.

 

pick your world cup team

 

It is your moral duty to support the Super Eagles

[…]

The basic principle is simple, drawn from utilitarian principles: Root for the outcome that will produce the largest aggregate increase in happiness. So I came up with a simple index, calculated by a country’s passion for soccer multiplied by its average level of poverty multiplied by its population. It’s perhaps a bit crude, simply to multiply these factors by each other, but the exercise highlights some important truths about the world.

Why this formula? Considering soccer interest seems obvious enough — the more passionate fans are, the happier they’ll be if their team emerges victorious. I incorporate poverty into the score for several reasons. First, happiness and wealth are correlated, and all else being equal, a utilitarian would prefer to help the person who is worst off. Second, the wealthy have more outlets for dealing with sports disappointments — such as going out to a nice meal — and can bounce back faster.

worst teams to supportOn the other hand, do not go for Australia, USA or Switzerland.

 

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