Athletic Bilbao are a slightly strange club. For decades they have followed an unwritten rule of only signing players from the surrounding region. The club identifies with the region and its people. Is this efficient? Who better to anwer this question that the author of a book, that has as its sub-title, "How soccer can help economics". The author is the economist Ignacio Palacios-Huerta who doubles as the Head of Talent Identification at Athletic Bilboa. He answered this question in an interview with Ouriel Daskal (here). The interview with Palacios-Huerta, his job as Head of Talent Identification, and the book Beautiful Game Theory, illustrate how sport can help economics and how economics can help sport.
Tomorrow the National Hurling League Final will be played. In gaelic games the teams are representative. The Cork and Waterford teams will represent their counties. And, the vast majority of GAA followers support their county. Maybe Palacios-Huerta and the folks that follow Athletic Bilbao would approve. However, I know a small few people who bemoan the lack of choice. They think they should be free to follow the GAA team of their choice like they do when it comes to supporting Premier League teams. But their choice here is limited by convention. Very few supporters of Premier League clubs change their colours once they have identified with a team as kids. Values and identities are concepts that economists find it a little harder with which to come to grips.