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The Effects of College Education on Career Earnings in the NBA


  • George Langelett

    (South Dakota State University)

  • Kuo-Liang Chang

    (South Dakota State University)

  • Michael Haupert

    (University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse)


The purpose of our research is to investigate whether the high school basketball player is better off attending or forgoing his college career to enter the NBA directly out of high school. We measure “better off” by total salary earned in the first ten years of a player’s NBA career. Using both OLS and a Heckit model, to control for possible sample selection bias, our results suggest that although college is an investment period for athletes, rational athletes do understand the opportunity cost of each year spent in college, with the most talented players forgoing their college education altogether.

Suggested Citation

  • George Langelett & Kuo-Liang Chang & Michael Haupert, 2013. "The Effects of College Education on Career Earnings in the NBA," Journal of Economic Insight (formerly the Journal of Economics (MVEA)), Missouri Valley Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 25-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:mve:journl:v:39:y:2013:i:1:p:25-44

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General


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