The World Cup and Economics 2014
A Statistical Model of the 2014 World Cup
Today we introduce our statistical model for predicting the outcome of the 2014 World Cup. At a very high level, our approach is as follows:■ We construct a stochastic model that generates a distribution of outcomes for each of the 64 matches of the 2014 World Cup, from the opener between Brazil and Croatia on June 12 in São Paulo through the final on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro.
- Brazil is the highest rated team in the Elo system, the single most important predictor of tournament success in our model. Since the Elo system dynamically updates its scores based on recent performance, the high rating is partly due to Brazil’s success in the 2013 Confederations Cup, including a 3:0 win against Spain and a 4:2 win against Italy. Admittedly, other measures of overall team strength do not show quite as favourable a picture for Brazil, but it is still one of the highest rated teams. For example, Exhibit 5 shows that there is a decent relationship between the Elo rating and the FIFA/Coca-Cola rating. Moreover, Exhibit 6 shows that there is also a decent relationship between the Elo rating and the aggregate transfer value of all the players in the different national squads. (Our statistical analysis does not use either the FIFA/Coca-Cola ratings, which are only available back to 1992, or aggregate transfer values, which are only available as a snapshot.)