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Does it pay to specialize? The story from the Gridiron

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  • R Simmons
  • D Berri
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    Abstract

    In the field of personnel economics, there are few opportunities to convincingly test for salary returns to specialization as against versatility or multi-tasking. This paper performs such a test by modeling returns to performance measures associated with two different skills practiced by running backs in the National Football League. We find pronounced gains to specialization with substantial predicted differences in returns for alternative skills. Moreover, these differences vary across the salary distribution. In the top half of the salary distribution, especially, model simulations show that specialists in either particular skill generate higher marginal returns than versatile players.

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    File URL: http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/services/downloadRegister/591135/Document.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department in its series Working Papers with number 591134.

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    Date of creation: 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:591134

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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Garicano, Luis & Hubbard, Thomas, 2005. "Managerial Leverage is Limited By the Extent of the Market: Hierarchies, Specialization and the Utilization of Lawyers' Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 4924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Robert Simmons & David Berri, 2005. "Race and evaluation of signal callers in the National Football League," IASE Conference Papers 0511, International Association of Sports Economists.
    3. Wallace Hendricks & Lawrence DeBrock & Roger Koenker, 2003. "Uncertainty, Hiring, and Subsequent Performance: The NFL Draft," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 857-886, October.
    4. Jahn Hakes & Chad Turner, 2011. "Pay, productivity and aging in Major League Baseball," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 61-74, February.
    5. Berri David J. & Schmidt Martin B. & Brook Stacey L., 2006. "Review of Wages of Wins: A Reply," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 2(4), pages 1-12, October.
    6. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "The Sports Business as a Labor Market Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 75-94, Summer.
    7. Idson, Todd L & Kahane, Leo H, 2000. "Team Effects on Compensation: An Application to Salary Determination in the National Hockey League," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(2), pages 345-57, April.
    8. Kevin G. Quinn, 2006. "Who Should be Drafted? Predicting Future Professional Productivity of Amateur Players Seeking to Enter the National Football League," IASE Conference Papers 0611, International Association of Sports Economists.
    9. Green, Francis & Machin, Stephen & Wilkinson, David, 1998. "The Meaning and Determinants of Skills Shortages," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(2), pages 165-87, May.
    10. Anthony C. Krautmann & Peter von Allmen & David Berri, 2009. "The Underpayment of Restricted Players in North American Sports Leagues," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 4(3), pages 161-175, August.
    11. Scully, Gerald W, 1974. "Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 915-30, December.
    12. Michael A. Leeds & Sandra Kowalewski, 2001. "Winner Take All in the NFL," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 2(3), pages 244-256, August.
    13. Rob Simmons & David Berri, 2008. "Race and the Evaluation of Signal Callers in the National Football League," IASE Conference Papers 0825, International Association of Sports Economists.
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