APSA membership and scoring efficiency at the World Cup

As soon as I learned that a bunch of World Cup statistics are readily available online I could not help checking an obvious hypothesis, namely that countries with more members of the American Political Science Association (APSA) should score goals more efficiently, if not be overall more successful. After all, American political science is decried for spreading publish-or-perish norms that lead to the proliferation of minimum publishable units, so it is only natural to expect that countries where more political scientists are affiliated with APSA tend to be less wasteful when it comes to scoring precious goals at the world’s most prestigious competition.

Well, it turns out that there can be too much of a good thing. APSA membership helps improve the goals to shots ratio but only up to a point. The French could have avoided an entertaining embarassing situation if their political scientists were more internationalized, and the Dutch would almost certainly not have reached the final without their good share of APSA members. However, the main problem of the English and Swiss teams was that their universities have too many scholars that mingle with American political science. Therefore, the advice for Fabio Capello and Ottmar Hitzfeld is straightforward: reduce the share of APSA members in England and Switzerland by about 50% and you will do much better next time.


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