IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Moneyball Anomaly and Payroll Efficiency: A Further Investigation


  • Jahn K. Hakes

    () (Albion College)

  • Raymond D. Sauer

    () (Clemson University)


In our 2006 paper, we examined the implications of Michael Lewis’ book for the labor market in Major League Baseball. Our tests provided econometric support for Lewis’ claim of mis-pricing in the baseball labor market’s valuation of batting skills. We also found suggestive evidence that the dispersion of statistical knowledge throughout baseball organizations was associated with a sharp attenuation of the mis-pricing. This paper takes a closer look at the economic issues raised by Lewis for the baseball labor market. We extend the sample both backward and forward in time, seeking to determine how long the pricing anomaly existed, and whether the recent attenuation in the anomaly is robust to new observations. In addition, we refine the measures of skill used in our tests to more closely match the narrative account in Lewis’ book. Using both our earlier and refined measures, we find that the pricing anomaly extends well before the period described in Moneyball, and that with some important caveats, the market correction in the post-Moneyball period persists. Finally, improvements in personnel management associated with a closer link between pay and performance may be responsible for the sharply increased correlation between winning percentage and payroll in recent years.

Suggested Citation

  • Jahn K. Hakes & Raymond D. Sauer, 2007. "The Moneyball Anomaly and Payroll Efficiency: A Further Investigation," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 2(4), pages 177-189, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:2:y:2007:i:4:p:177-189

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full-text download requires subscription from FIT.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Inna Zaytseva & Daniil Shaposhnikov, 2020. "Moneyball In Offensive Vs Defensive Actions In Soccer," HSE Working papers WP BRP 223/EC/2020, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

    More about this item


    market dynamics and equilibrium; baseball salaries; pay and productivity; managerial cost-effectiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:2:y:2007:i:4:p:177-189. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Victor Matheson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.