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Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in NHL Hockey

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  • John P. Haisken-DeNew

    ()

  • Matthias Vorell

    ()

Abstract

The level of violence in the National Hockey League (NHL) reached its highest point in 1987 and has reduced somewhat since then, although to levels much larger than before the first team expansions in 1967. Using publicly available information from several databases 1996–2007, the incentives for violence in North American ice hockey are analyzed.We examine the role of penalty minutes and more specifically, fighting, during the regular season in determining wages for professional hockey players and team-level success indicators. There are substantial returns paid not only to goal scoring skills but also to fighting ability, helping teams move higher in the playoffs and showing up as positive wage premia for otherwise observed low-skill wing players. These estimated per-fight premia, depending on fight success ($10,000 to $18,000), are even higher than those for an additional point made. By introducing a “fight fine” of twice the maximum potential gain ($36,000) and adding this amount to salaries paid for the team salary cap (fines would be 6.7% of the team salary cap or the average wage of 2 players), then all involved would have either little or no incentives to allow fighting to continue.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0047.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0047

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Related research

Keywords: Compensating wage differentials; health risk; violence; subjective indicators;

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  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh & John R. Wolfe, 1986. "Compensating Wage Differentials and the Duration of Wage Loss," NBER Working Papers 1887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. J. Jones & S. Nadeau & W. Walsh, 1997. "The wages of sin: Employment and salary effects of violence in the national hockey league," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 25(2), pages 191-206, June.
  3. Stuart Dorsey & Norman Walzer, 1983. "Workers' compensation, job hazards, and wages," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(4), pages 642-654, July.
  4. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  5. Craig A. Olson, 1981. "An Analysis of Wage Differentials Received by Workers on Dangerous Jobs," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 167-185.
  6. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  7. Neil Longley, 1995. "Salary Discrimination in the National Hockey League: The Effects of Team Location," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 21(4), pages 413-422, December.
  8. Ronald Meng, 1989. "Compensating Differences in the Canadian Labour Market," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(2), pages 413-24, May.
  9. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  10. Lucas, Robert E B, 1977. "Hedonic Wage Equations and Psychic Wages in the Returns to Schooling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 549-58, September.
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