January 2008

IZA DP No. 3327: The Stairways to Heaven: A Model of Career Choice in Sports and Games, with an Application to Chess

We model individual careers in sports and games from initial entry to eventual exit or success as a discrete-choice, finite-horizon optimization problem. We apply this model to the international game of chess and study cross-country differences in the relative success of players. While we find no evidence that the players in our sample from the ex-Warsaw Pact are more talented than European and American players, there is evidence that they face lower training costs.