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Does One Simply Need to Score to Score?


  • David J. Berri

    () (California State University-Bakersfield)

  • Stacey L. Brook

    () (University of Sioux Falls)

  • Martin B. Schmidt

    () (College of William and Mary)


Professional sports are characterized by an abundance of information on worker productivity and severe consequences for failure. Consequently, one would expect information to be processed efficiently in this industry. Recent research indicates, though, that decision makers in professional sports do not behave consistently with the dictates of instrumental rationality. This study of decision making in the National Basketball Association (NBA) begins with a literature review that indicates players can score a major payday by simply focusing on scoring. Beyond this review, we offer an empirical investigation of both the voting for the All-Rookie team and the determination of player salary that clearly indicates that the ability to accumulate points dominates player evaluation in the NBA. Given that such a focus is not consistent with winning games or maximizing profits, we argue that decision-makers in the NBA do not behave according to the dictates of instrumental rationality.

Suggested Citation

  • David J. Berri & Stacey L. Brook & Martin B. Schmidt, 2007. "Does One Simply Need to Score to Score?," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 2(4), pages 190-205, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:2:y:2007:i:4:p:190-205

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul, Rodney J. & Weinbach, Andrew P., 2007. "The uncertainty of outcome and scoring effects on Nielsen ratings for Monday Night Football," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 199-211.
    2. Michael R. Butler, 2002. "Interleague Play and Baseball Attendance," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(4), pages 320-334, November.
    3. Daniel Rascher, 1997. "A model of a professional sports league," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 3(3), pages 327-328, August.
    4. Kahn, Lawrence M & Sherer, Peter D, 1988. "Racial Differences in Professional Basketball Players' Compensation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 40-61, January.
    5. Stefan Kesenne & Wilfried Pauwels, 2006. "Club Objectives and Ticket Pricing in Professional Team Sports," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 549-560, Summer.
    6. Christopher R. Bollinger & Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2003. "The Upside Potential of Hiring Risky Workers: Evidence from the Baseball Industry," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 923-944, October.
    7. Kanazawa, Mark T & Funk, Jonas P, 2001. "Racial Discrimination in Professional Basketball: Evidence from Nielsen Ratings," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 599-608, October.
    8. Hausman, Jerry A & Leonard, Gregory K, 1997. "Superstars in the National Basketball Association: Economic Value and Policy," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(4), pages 586-624, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:105-119 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Harald Oberhofer & Marian Schwinner, 2017. "Do Individual Salaries Depend On the Performance of the Peers? Prototype Heuristic and Wage Bargaining in the NBA," WIFO Working Papers 534, WIFO.
    3. Dennis Coates & Babatunde Oguntimein, 2010. "The Length and Success of NBA Careers: Does College Production Predict Professional Outcomes?," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 5(1), pages 4-26, February.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. R Simmons & D J Berri, 2010. "Mixing the princes and the paupers: Pay and performance in the National Basketball Association," Working Papers 611523, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    7. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:1556-1578 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:lan:wpaper:3659 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Kelly M. Hastings & Frank Stephenson, 2015. "The NBA’s Maximum Player Salary and the Distribution of Player Rents," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(2), pages 1-9, March.
    10. David Berri & Stacey Brook & Aju Fenn, 2011. "From college to the pros: predicting the NBA amateur player draft," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 25-35, February.
    11. 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.
    12. repec:lan:wpaper:3944 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:lan:wpaper:3551 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:1091-1103 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    instrumental rationality; National Basketball Association; productivity;

    JEL classification:

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


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