Team Masculinity and Performance: Evidence from Major League Soccer

Dmitry Kirpishchikov
Petr Parshakov
and Marina Zavertiaeva

Previous papers provide evidence that psychological characteristics such as personal masculinity are related to performance. Although relationships have been well established on an individual level, there has been little attempt to analyze the performance of teams that diverge in terms of masculinity. This paper studies the impact of team masculinity on its performance, paying particular attention to the connection between masculinity and cooperative behavior within a team. We use data on Major League Soccer teams because sports competitions represent a good ground for demonstrating masculinity and provide open data. Our results suggest a positive connection between the group’s average masculinity and its performance. We test whether this fact can be explained by increased in-group cooperation, first revealed in Stirrat and Perrett’s experimental study (2012) but do not find any relationship. As for the team’s diversity in masculinity, we do not find any impact on team performance.

JEL Classifications: L83, Z22