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Mixing the princes and the paupers: Pay and performance in the National Basketball Association


  • Simmons, Rob
  • Berri, David J.


We investigate how team and individual performances of players in the National Basketball Association respond to variations in intra-team pay inequality. By breaking down team dispersion into conditional and expected components, we find that expected pay dispersion has a positive effect on team and individual performance. We find that team and individual performances are essentially orthogonal to conditional pay inequality, counter to the hypotheses of fairness and cohesion proposed in the literature both for sports and general occupations. A change in collective bargaining regime in 1996 had little impact on either team or player productivity.

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  • Simmons, Rob & Berri, David J., 2011. "Mixing the princes and the paupers: Pay and performance in the National Basketball Association," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 381-388, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:18:y:2011:i:3:p:381-388

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Julia Müller & Thorsten Upmann, 2017. "Eigenvalue Productivity: Measurement of Individual Contributions in Teams," CESifo Working Paper Series 6679, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Robert Breunig & Bronwyn Garrett-Rumba & Mathieu Jardin & Yvon Rocaboy, 2014. "Wage dispersion and team performance: a theoretical model and evidence from baseball," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 271-281, January.
    3. David J. Berri & Brad R. Humphreys & Robert Simmons, 2013. "Valuing the blind side: pay and performance of offensive linemen in the National Football League," Chapters,in: The Econometrics of Sport, chapter 6, pages 99-114 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Berlinschi, Ruxanda & Schokkaert, Jeroen & Swinnen, Johan, 2013. "When drains and gains coincide: Migration and international football performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 1-14.
    5. Le Maux, Benoit & Rocaboy, Yvon, 2012. "A simple microfoundation for the utilization of fragmentation indexes to measure the performance of a team," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 491-493.
    6. Julia Müller & Thorsten Upmann & Joachim Prinz, 2013. "Individual Team Productivity - A Conceptual Approach," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-183/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Brandes, Leif & Brechot, Marc & Franck, Egon, 2015. "Managers’ external social ties at work: Blessing or curse for the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 203-216.
    8. Giacomo De Luca & Jeroen Schokkaert & Jo Swinnen, 2011. "Cultural Differences, Assimilation and Behavior: Player Nationality and Penalties in Football," LICOS Discussion Papers 29711, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    9. repec:bla:coecpo:v:36:y:2018:i:1:p:200-214 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Dennis Coates & Petr Parshakov, 2016. "Team Vs. Individual Tournaments: Evidence From Prize Structure In Esports," HSE Working papers WP BRP 138/EC/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    11. Philippe Cyrenne, 2014. "Salary Inequality, Team Success and the Superstar Effect," Departmental Working Papers 2014-02, The University of Winnipeg, Department of Economics.
    12. Frank TENKORANG & Bree L. DORITY & Eddery LAM, 2014. "Nba Endgame: Do Salaries Matter?," Review of Economic and Business Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, issue 14, pages 51-62, December.
    13. Caruso, Raul & Carlo, Bellavite Pellegrini & Marco, Di Domizio, 2016. "Does diversity in the payroll affect soccer teams’ performance? Evidence from the Italian Serie A," MPRA Paper 75644, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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