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Heterogeneous Worker Ability and Team-based Production: Evidence from Major League Baseball, 1920-2009

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  • Dr Alex Bryson

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Abstract

A detailed longitudinal dataset is assembled containing annual performance and biographical data for every player over the entire history of professional major league baseball. The data are then aggregated to the team level for the period 1920-2009 in order to test whether teams built on a more even distribution of observed talent perform better than those teams with a mixture of highly able and less able players. The dependent variable used in the regressions is the percentage of games a team wins each season. We find that conditioning on average player ability, dispersion of both batting and pitching talent displays an optimal degree of inequality, in that teams with too high or too low a spread in player ability perform worse than teams with a more balanced distribution of offensive and defensive talent. These findings have potentially important applications both inside and outside of the sporting world.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its series NIESR Discussion Papers with number 2737.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nsr:niesrd:2737

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  1. Superstars' baleful effects
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-05-22 13:11:26
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Cited by:
  1. Gerlinde Fellner & Yoshio Iida & Sabine Kröger & Erika Seki, 2014. "The Relation between Information and Heterogeneous Ability in Joint Projects - An experimental Analysis -," Cahiers de recherche 1411, CIRPEE.
  2. Sander Hoogendoorn & Simon C. Parker & Mirjam van Praag, 2014. "Ability Dispersion and Team Performance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-053/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Sander Hoogendoorn & Simon C. Parker & Mirjam van Praag, 2012. "Ability Dispersion and Team Performance: A Field Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-130/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Hoogendoorn, Sander M. & Parker, Simon C. & van Praag, Mirjam, 2012. "Ability Dispersion and Team Performance: A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7044, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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