Follow the money, not the octopus – economists (Reuters)

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BERLIN (Reuters) – A German economic think tank, seemingly envious of an octopus who became an international celebrity for picking World Cup winners, said it came to similar conclusions with a better foundation for its picks.

The DIW Institute for Economic Research used transfer market value estimates of players to pick Spain to win the World Cup. With a value of 650 million euros (539 million pounds) for the 23-man squad, Spain were DIW’s pre-tournament choice.

DIW economist Gert Wagner said the institute picked Spain to win both the World Cup and the 2008 Euro based on that economic model — and were right both times.

Paul was right in all eight of his picks in 2010 but got one of his 2008 picks wrong.

“Let’s see Paul top us,” Wagner said, referring to the octopus from Oberhausen that captured the world’s imagination.

But Wagner did not mention the fact that DIW, using its economic model, had made England their second choice based on the players aggregate market value of 542 million euros.

England were eliminated early in the tournament by Germany.

DIW was not the only institute eclipsed by Paul’s uncanny winning streak. Humbled professors across Europe were recently quoted saying Paul got lucky with his picks.

The octopus predicted football matches by picking food from two different transparent containers lowered into his tank, each adorned with the flag of one of the matches’ competitors.

(Editing by Steve Addison)

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