Do managerial skills matter? An analysis of the impact of managerial features on performance for Italian football

  • Claudio Detotto
  • Dimitri Paolini
  • J. D. TenaEmail author


This paper studies the impact of a set of managerial characteristics on performance in the top division (Serie A) of the Italian football league during seasons 2000/2001–2009/2010. We employ a bivariate ordered probit model applied to match-level data, which allows for asymmetric effects at home and away matches and in goals scored and conceded. Our set of coach characteristics includes indicators of skill, experience, innate features as well as empathy with the team. We find that some managerial features matter even when we control for club power and past results. Performance is positively correlated with the manager having had experience abroad and with the manager being a former player with the club; but performance is worsened by lack of managerial experience. Other features affect only some particular aspects of performance. In particular, Italian managers are more defensive in home games while older managers are more defensive in away games. Our approach also identifies a negative effect of managerial turnover on defensive performance, an effect which is masked when a more traditional aggregated model is used.


leadership bi-ordered probit model coach dismissals endogeneity 

JEL Classification

J24 M51 C25 C35 L83 M11 



We are very grateful to two anonymous referees for incisive suggestions and to Bruno Atzori for excellent research assistance. J. D. Tena acknowledges financial support from Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, ECO2009-08100 and ECO2012-32401. Dimitri Paolini gratefully acknowledges financial support by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (PRIN), by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Legge n. 7), and Fondazione Banco di Sardegna. Claudio Detotto would like to acknowledge the facilities provided by the Faculty of Economics at the University of Guayaquil (Ecuador) and by the Institute of Statistics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Chile).


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Copyright information

© The Operational Research Society 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Detotto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dimitri Paolini
    • 3
    • 4
  • J. D. Tena
    • 3
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratoire LISA - UMR 6240 CNRSUniversity of CorsicaCorteFrance
  2. 2.CRENoSSassariItaly
  3. 3.DiSEA and CRENoSUniversità di SassariSassariItaly
  4. 4.COREUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  5. 5.Management SchoolUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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