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Time To Go? Head Coach Quits and Dismissals in Professional Football: Economist (Netherlands)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>5/11/2020
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date5/11/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


That football Head Coaches will be dismissed for poor performance and will quit when they have better outside options seems obvious. But owners may find it hard to distinguish poor performance from bad luck and may find it difficult to identify and attract talented Head Coaches from other clubs even if their current Head Coach is performing below expectations. Equally, Head Coaches may have few options to move to better clubs even when they are performing well. Using rich data on Head Coach characteristics we identify determinants of quits and dismissals across four professional football leagues over the period 2002–2015. We find that Head Coaches’ probabilities of dismissal are significantly lower when the team is performing above expectations, with the effect strongest for recent games. However, in contrast to earlier studies, we find that performing above expectations also reduces the probability of Head Coach quits. Head Coach success in the past, as well as Head Coach experience, reduce the probability of being dismissed, even when conditioning on team performance, suggesting Head Coach human capital has some ‘protective’ effect in managerial careers. Past experience has little effect on quit probabilities—with the exception of tenure at the current employer, which is associated with lower quit rates. We test the robustness of our results by confining estimates to first exits, within-season departures and by dealing with unobserved Head Coach heterogeneity. © 2020, The Author(s).