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The evolution of the football jersey – an institutional perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2021

David Butler
Department of Economics, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Robert Butler
Department of Economics, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
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This paper explores the interaction of informal constraints on human behaviour by examining the evolution of English football jerseys. The jersey provides an excellent setting to demonstrate how informal constraints emerge from formal rules and shape human behaviour. Customs, approved norms and habits are all observed in this setting. The commercialisation of football in recent decades has resulted in these informal constraints, in many cases dating back over a century, co-existing with branding, goodwill and identity effects. Combined, these motivate clubs to maintain the status quo. As a result, club colours have remained remarkably resilient within a frequently changing landscape.

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Copyright © Millennium Economics Ltd 2021

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