There was a paper delivered today by Simon Burgess (Bristol University); on international football tournaments, study effort and GCSE exam performance; at the UCD Geary Behavioural Seminar Series. Today's seminar paper, "Student Effort, Educational Attainment and the World Cup" (with Rob Metcalfe and Steven Proud) is not online yet, but readers can investigate further research by the speaker: here.
An abstract for today's paper is available here on the website of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER). The authors "use a sharp, exogenous and repeated change in the value of leisure to identify the impact of student effort on educational performance. Performance is measured using the universal high-stakes tests that students in schools in England take at the end of compulsory schooling. The treatment arises from the fact that the world’s major international football tournaments overlap with the exam period in schools in England, well known to be a nation obsessed with football."
Professor Burgess is Director of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO). For those interested in research on the economics of education (and other domains of applied micro), the CMPO blog and twitter feed are worth following.