Date of Award

Fall 1-1-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Professot Dowd-Uribe


Despite the popularity of soccer in Africa, African teams tend to underperform in international competitions such as the World Cup relative to European and South American teams. Studies have been conducted on what determines performance in international soccer. These studies stress the importance of wealth, talent pool, and soccer culture on determining performance. However, these studies focus more generally on the entire world, and, in some instances, omit African nations due to a lack of data. Additionally, the focus on a wide sample of the world results in the omission of some potentially crucial variables in relation to Africa, specifically corruption. This paper examines the determinants of African Association soccer team success using statistical tools employed in the literature. In addition to corruption, this study examines wealth, talent pool, colonial heritage, and regional affiliation. The results confirm the positive impact of wealth on performance and, contrary to some studies, showcase statistically significant positive impact of talent pool size on performance. Furthermore, this study reflects the need for a more direct assessment of institutional performance of soccer association generally, as well as developing a more comprehensive model in addressing the relationship between corruption and soccer for further investigation and thus better policy design.