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Batter Up! Moral Hazard and the Effects of the Designated Hitter Rule on Hit Batsmen


  • Goff, Brian L
  • Shughart, William F, II
  • Tollison, Robert D


American League batters have been hit by pitches 10 percent to 15 percent more frequently than National League batters since the designated hitter rule was introduced in 1973. This evidence is consistent with the idea that the American League's adoption of the designated hitter rule created a classic moral hazard problem. Because they are not required to appear at the plate, American League pitchers can throw at opposing hitters with greater impunity (i.e., at lower cost) than National League pitchers who must take their turns at bat and, hence, bear more of the costs of their own actions. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Goff, Brian L & Shughart, William F, II & Tollison, Robert D, 1997. "Batter Up! Moral Hazard and the Effects of the Designated Hitter Rule on Hit Batsmen," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(3), pages 555-561, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:35:y:1997:i:3:p:555-61

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    Cited by:

    1. John Charles Bradbury & Douglas Drinen, 2006. "Research Notes: The Designated Hitter, Moral Hazard, and Hit Batters," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 7(3), pages 319-329, August.
    2. Kendall, Graham & Lenten, Liam J.A., 2017. "When sports rules go awry," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 257(2), pages 377-394.
    3. Jim Downey & Joseph McGarrity, 2015. "Pick off Throws, Stolen Bases, and Southpaws: A Comparative Static Analysis of a Mixed Strategy Game," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 43(3), pages 319-335, September.
    4. Akihiko Kawaura & Sumner J. La Croix, 2007. "The Designated Hitter Rule and Team Defensive Strategy in Japan's Professional Baseball Leagues," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 8(5), pages 491-504, October.
    5. Peter Boettke, 2017. "Robert Tollison and operationalizing public choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 171(1), pages 17-22, April.
    6. Joseph P. McGarrity & Brian Linnen, 2010. "Pass or Run: An Empirical Test of the Matching Pennies Game Using Data from the National Football League," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 76(3), pages 791-810, January.
    7. Akihiko Kawaura & Sumner La Croix, 2010. "The Designated Hitter Rule in Baseball as a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 201005, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    8. Bryce Kanago & David George Surdam, 2020. "Intimidation, Discrimination, and Retaliation: Hit-by-Pitches during the Integration of Major League Baseball," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 48(1), pages 67-85, March.
    9. William F. Shughart, 2017. "A Personal Remembrance," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(3), pages 630-636, January.
    10. Marios Michaelides, 2010. "A New Test of Compensating Differences: Evidence on the Importance of Unobserved Heterogeneity," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 11(5), pages 475-495, October.
    11. Akihiko Kawaura, 2010. "Designated Hitter Rule Debate: A Search for Mr. Hyde in Pitchers," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 11(3), pages 349-357, June.
    12. Liam J.A. Lenten & Jan Libich & Petr Stehlík, 2013. "Policy Timing and Footballers' Incentives," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 14(6), pages 629-655, December.
    13. Kevin Baldini & Mark T. Gillis & Matt E. Ryan, 2011. "Do Relief Pitching and Remaining Games Create Moral Hazard Problems in Major League Baseball?," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 12(6), pages 647-659, December.
    14. Gregory A. Trandel, 2004. "Hit by Pitches," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 5(1), pages 87-92, February.

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