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Explaining English Premier League Wage Differentials by Nationality
  • Hanna Ginzburg
Hanna Ginzburg
Vassar College
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Abstract

Do English players command higher wages than non-English players in the Premier League? This paper aims to identify and analyze the existence of nationality-based employer discrimination in football wage-setting, using multiple linear regression models built on data from SoFifa.com. The first regression incorporates eight distinct covariates, along with interaction terms and team and position fixed effects, that may causally influence wage. The second includes the same covariates but assigns overall rating as the dependent variable. Subsequent analysis informs the conclusion that employer and statistical discrimination against non-English nationalities is unlikely; the wage differential is more likely a result of a combination of factors, particularly lower ability standards, and team-specific and player-specific differences. The homegrown player quota actually lowers employment standards for English players, resulting in a negative relationship between English and overall player rating (used as a proxy for ability). English players see a gradient in wage, too; they earn more for a one-unit increase in overall rating and for playing a single position, versus multiple positions, when compared to non-English players.