Moving on up: The Rooney rule and minority hiring in the NFL
Detecting and quantifying racial discrimination in the labor market is difficult. The sports industry offers a wealth of data and specific hiring practices which mitigates this difficulty. The Rooney Rule requires National Football League teams to interview at least one minority candidate when hiring a head coach. We examine a unique data set of high-level assistant coaches (offensive and defensive coordinators) from the beginning of the 1970 season through the beginning of the 2009 season to determine whether race is a factor in NFL teams' decisions to promote these assistants to head coach. Using logit and hazard models that control for age, experience and performance, we conclude that conditional on a coach reaching coordinator status, there is no evidence that race influences head coach hiring decisions. We also find no evidence that the Rooney Rule has increased the number of minority head coaches.
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