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Wage inequality and firm performance: Professional basketball's natural experiment

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  • David Berri
  • R. Jewell

Abstract

The purpose of this inquiry is to utilize a natural experiment from professional basketball to examine how wage inequality impacts the productivity of the firm. The literature suggests that wage inequality may promote firm productivity if higher wages are necessary to limit the damage potential of certain workers. In contrast, other writers have trumpeted the productivity gains from worker cooperation and thus, argued that wage disparity lowers firm output. During the 1990s, the National Basketball Association experienced dramatic increases in the level of wage inequality. The empirical evidence reported here supports a third possibility. Specifically, wage inequality and firm productivity are not related. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2004

Suggested Citation

  • David Berri & R. Jewell, 2004. "Wage inequality and firm performance: Professional basketball's natural experiment," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 32(2), pages 130-139, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:32:y:2004:i:2:p:130-139 DOI: 10.1007/BF02298830
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Orszag, Jonathan M., 1994. "A new look at incentive effects and golf tournaments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 77-88, September.
    2. DepkenII, Craig A., 2000. "Wage disparity and team productivity: evidence from major league baseball," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 87-92, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ver:wpaper:12/2012 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Papps, Kerry L. & Bryson, Alex & Gomez, Rafael, 2011. "Heterogeneous worker ability and team-based production: Evidence from major league baseball, 1920-2009," Labour Economics, Elsevier, pages 310-319.
    3. Tao, Yu-Li & Chuang, Hwei-Lin & Lin, Eric S., 2016. "Compensation and performance in Major League Baseball: Evidence from salary dispersion and team performance," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 151-159.
    4. Borghesi, Richard, 2008. "Allocation of scarce resources: Insight from the NFL salary cap," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(6), pages 536-550.
    5. Yamamura, Eiji, 2010. "Wage disparity and team performance in the process of industry development: Evidence from Japan’s professional football league," MPRA Paper 27363, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Alessandro Bucciol & Marco Piovesan, 2012. "Pay Dispersion and Work Performance," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-075, Harvard Business School.
    7. 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.
    8. Bernd Frick & Robert Simmons, 2008. "The impact of managerial quality on organizational performance: evidence from German soccer," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(7), pages 593-600.
    9. Frick, Bernd & Simmons, Robert, 2006. "Impact of Managerial Quality on Organizational Performance. Evidence from German Soccer," Efficiency Series Papers 2006/05, University of Oviedo, Department of Economics, Oviedo Efficiency Group (OEG).
    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. Takuma Kamada & Hajime Katayama, 2014. "Team performance and within-team salary disparity: an analysis of nippon professional baseball," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 144-151.
    12. 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.
    13. repec:lan:wpaper:3944 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Dietl Helmut M & Lang Markus & Rathke Alexander, 2009. "The Effect of Salary Caps in Professional Team Sports on Social Welfare," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, pages 1-23.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Egon Franck & Stephan Nüesch, 2007. "Wage Dispersion and Team Performance - An Empirical Panel Analysis," Working Papers 0017, University of Zurich, Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA).

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