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Free Agency and the Concentration of Player Talent in Major League Baseball


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  • Craig A. Depken, II

    (University of Texas Arlington)


This article investigates whether the a removal of the reserve clause in professional baseball affected the concentration of player talent in the industry. After free agency, a few wealthy teams could purchase the best players over time, leading to a high concentration of productive players and adversely affecting the competitive nature of the industry. To investigate his possibility, the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, and the deviation of the index from its ideal, for home runs, strike outs and runs scored is related to structural changes in professional baseball. Free agency reduced the concentration of home runs but not of strikeouts or runs scored. These findings are consistent with increased player mobility but not with monopolization by a minority of teams.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by in its journal Journal of Sports Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 335-353

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Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:3:y:2002:i:4:p:335-353

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Keywords: Professionals;

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Cited by:
  1. P. Owen & Michael Ryan & Clayton Weatherston, 2007. "Measuring Competitive Balance in Professional Team Sports Using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 289-302, December.
  2. Jennifer K. Ashcraft & Craig A. Depken, II, 2007. "The Introduction of the Reserve Clause in Major League Baseball: Evidence of its Impact on Select Player Salaries During the 1880s," Working Papers 0710, International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists.
  3. Pelnar, Gregory, 2007. "Antitrust Analysis of Sports Leagues," MPRA Paper 5382, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Mastromarco, Camilla & Runkel, Marco, 2004. "Rule Changes and Competitive Balance in Formula One Motor Racing," Discussion Papers in Economics 386, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Thomas J. Miceli, 2003. "A Principal-Agent Model of Contracting in Major League Baseball," Working papers 2003-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.


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