Economic Rockstar

Economic Rockstar is created for you, the economist, financial analyst, teacher or student. If you are looking to expand your knowledge or awareness, Frank Conway delivers the information you just don't want to miss. Economic Rockstar brings to you each week an economist, financial analyst or business leader who shares their experiences, research interests or ideas. Hear their views on different schools of economic thinking - Chicago, Austrian, Keynesian and Classical, behavioral economics, stock markets, and how economics and finance can be used in our lives. Economic Rockstar interviews top-level lecturers and academics from highly renowned universities, best-selling authors and bloggers, inspirational CEOs and business leaders, as well as amazing and thought-provoking people who have recently discovered economics and finance and are carving out a career in their new-found passion. Guests in each episode gives us wonderful advice, takeaways and insights that will help you become part of the Economic Rockstar community that will be 'Connecting Brilliant Minds in Economics and Finance'.


008: Robbie Butler on Using Sports to Teach Entry-Level Economics

Robbie Butler is a lecturer of economics at University College Cork in Ireland, where he lectures on a multitude of modules, such as Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Growth Economics and Corporate Strategy.  Robbie received his PhD from University of Hertfordshire in England, is published in a number of internationally renowned academic journals and is a regular economics contributor on media. Robbie's primary passion is in sports, namely football (soccer) and he has a Junior International cap for Ireland. Robbie managed to bridge his passion for sports with his career in economics and, along with his brother David and other colleagues, created and runs the popular website

Find Out:
  • who lectured Robbie as an undergrad. Hint: He's the host of this show!
  • how Robbie's use of sports in explaining economics grew from fun and a personal interest into something that has grown and evolved into something quite serious.
  • how playing football at a highly competitive level has allowed Robbie view economics in quite a unique way.
  • how this unique view has given Robbie an ability to delve into economics with many sports analogies and examples in which students can relate.
  • how having played sports competitively has given Robbie a level of respect and credibility when using sports-related themes in economics.
  • the importance of working with like-minded people and how it makes life so much easier.
  • why a coffee break with colleagues can have the most intellectually-stimulating conversations bursting with ideas.
  • a great tip before publishing a blog post when working with others who share the same website - it cuts out the use of Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.
  • how working with a sibling makes the feedback on your work more critical and raw - something that could help with perfecting the right article.
  • about the Theory of Multiple Intelligence by  Harvard educationalist Howard Gardner - we have 8 ways of learning.
  • how sports can be used as "a lens to the economic world" that empowers the student when learning and understanding economic theory.
  • how a change to the rules of a football/soccer game in the Caribbean between Barbados and Granada created incentives that reflects the behaviour of rational economic agent.
  • how a penalty shoot-out between Manchester United and Chelsea in the Champions League Final showcases the Volunteers Dilemma in economic game theory (Chelsea are instructed to take all penalties to Manchester United keeper's left but he finds out Chelsea's strategy when faced with the last penalty-taker by pointing to his own left - game theory demonstrated in football).
  • how watching the Simpsons can expose us to economic theory with its many parodies.
  • why Robbie believes that the English Premier League is in trouble and has all the hallmarks of a bubble.
  • how the different economic structures of the US (free market) and Europe (socialist) are reversed when it comes to the economic model of sports.
  • how the debt/GDP ratio imposed on EU countries is similar to the debt/income rules imposed on football clubs.
  • why big clubs may be willing to break the spending rules of the game despite the imposition of monetary fines.
  • about the use of metrics by Billy Bean's Oakland A's and how a 'mediocre' team could beat the cash-rich New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Get the shownotes to this episode and all the links mentioned at


 2014-11-27  38m