Ghana Soccer: Incentives Matter

Lynne Kieslingj

Ghana has beaten USA and advanced in the World Cup. In addition to the satisfaction of well-played football and national pride, can there be economic incentives motivating the players? Yes. The 23 members of the Ghana squad get bonus pay for each victory, and that bonus pay doubles in the round of 16:

On top of the $50,000 received for competing in the World Cup, each squad member is earned $10,000 for defeating the Czech Republic.

The same incentive will apply should the Black Stars beat the United States on Thursday. And, if qualification for the second round is achieved, the players will also receive the $10,000 they would have been due had they beaten Italy.

This should take their earnings for the group stages to $80,000, per player, making it a total of $1,840,000. While the $80,000 may be about half of what Africa’s most expensive player, Michael Essien earns for a week’s job at Chelsea FC, it is a mighty bonanza for several of the players, especially their Ghanaian-based ones.

There is no discrimination when it comes to entitlement to the money. A player such as third choice goalie Ben Owu of Ash Gold should have enough money to shop and pay for excess luggage and perhaps top it with a C-Class Mercedes Benz before returning to Obuasi where he earns his normal pay.

The winning bonus, which is taxable in Germany, is to be increased to at least $20,000 if the team advances beyond the group stages.

For participating in the World Cup, Ghana has earned $4.5 million from FIFA.

In the Ten Principles of Economics (as articulated by Greg Mankiw), Principle Four is: people respond to incentives.

Congratulations to Ghana.

So now I’m down to England and Spain. Once we see the pairings I may venture to make some predictions. Maybe.

3 thoughts on “Ghana Soccer: Incentives Matter

  1. Seems to me whoever is paying the referees for their perfomances is getting the most return on their incentives.

    Two questionable red cards in one game against and several missed penalties over two games that would have favored and a round deciding penalty kick against along with some well deserved best acting awards have set back US soccer for years to come. Perhaps it is best that US was prevented from winning in the first round as now the outcome will be untainted. US players were most certainly incetivized even without overt state sponsorship and they did not play well and may not have advanced even with evenhanded judging but they weren’t given that chance. Heck, if money really decided then the FIFA were foolish to allow the US to be eliminated.

    Ghana has exceeded expecations and the US has faultered. Happens all the time. Congratulations and go Ghana. A one fingered salute to the referees for ruining two games in the World Cup.

  2. Ghana won as much as the US lost … Incentives only work if they structure is properly aligned … US soccer suffers from poor coaching …incentives are needed around coaching

  3. The US players also get big money incentives to win…but they barely showed up at the WC (And salaries for many of the players are pretty low. Many MLS guys earn less than $75K a year).

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