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Exit Discrimination in the NBA: A Duration Analysis of Career Length


  • Peter A. Groothuis
  • J. Richard Hill


Using a panel study of annual NBA data (1989--99) we do not find evidence of exit discrimination on career length in the NBA. This result is inconsistent with results from data in the 1980s but is consistent with more recent findings that have measured wage discrimination in sports in the 1990s. In our semiparametric duration analysis, we find that performance variables are important in determining career length. These results suggest that team owners in the pursuit of championships keep talented players regardless of race. This is an affirmation of Becker's theoretical implications of market competition on discrimination. (JEL J71, J23) Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter A. Groothuis & J. Richard Hill, 2004. "Exit Discrimination in the NBA: A Duration Analysis of Career Length," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 341-349, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:42:y:2004:i:2:p:341-349

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holmes, Paul, 2011. "New evidence of salary discrimination in major league baseball," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 320-331, June.
    2. Marc Lavoie & Gilles Grenier & Serge Coulombe, 1987. "Discrimination and Performance Differentials in the National Hockey League," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 13(4), pages 407-422, December.
    3. Johnny Ducking & Peter A. Groothuis & James Richard Hill, 2014. "Compensation discrimination in the NFL: an analysis of career earnings," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(10), pages 679-682, July.
    4. J. C. H. Jones & William D. Walsh, 1988. "Salary Determination in the National Hockey League: The Effects of Skills, Franchise Characteristics, and Discrimination," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(4), pages 592-604, July.
    5. Örn B. Bodvarsson & Raymond T. Brastow, 1999. "A Test Of Employer Discrimination In The Nba," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(2), pages 243-255, April.
    6. Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 1998. "The Duration Of Medicaid Spells: An Analysis Using Flow And Stock Samples," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 667-675, November.
    7. Hoang, Ha & Rascher, Dan, 1999. "The NBA, Exit Discrimination, and Career Earnings," MPRA Paper 3542, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Howard Bodenhorn & Carolyn Moehling & Gregory N. Price, 2012. "Short Criminals: Stature and Crime in Early America," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 393-419.
    9. Joshua Pitts & Daniel Yost, 2013. "Racial Position Segregation in Intercollegiate Football: Do Players become more Racially Segregated as they Transition from High School to College?," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 207-230, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mihailo Radoman & Marcel C. Voia, 2015. "Youth Training Programs and Their Impact on Career and Spell Duration of Professional Soccer Players," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 29(2), pages 163-193, June.
    2. Bodvarsson, Örn B. & Humphreys, Brad R., 2009. "Labor Market Discrimination and Capital Investment: The Effects of Fan Discrimination on Stadium Investment," IZA Discussion Papers 4551, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Bernd Frick & Gunnar Pietzner & Joachim Prinz, 2007. "Career Duration a Competitive Environment: The Labor Market for Soccer Players in Germany," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 429-442, Summer.
    4. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2009. "The Economics of Discrimination: Evidence from Basketball," NCER Working Paper Series 40, National Centre for Econometric Research.
    5. Peter A. Groothuis & James Richard Hill, 2009. "Correcting for Survival Effects in Cross Section Wage Equations Using NBA Data," Working Papers 09-19, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    6. Scott Tainsky & Brian M. Mills & Jason A. Winfree, 2015. "Further Examination of Potential Discrimination Among MLB Umpires," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 16(4), pages 353-374, May.
    7. Johnny Ducking & Peter A. Groothuis & James Richard Hill, 2017. "Compensation Discrimination: an Analysis of Linebackers, Defensive Linemen, and Defensive Backs in the National Football League," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 251-260, December.
    8. Göke Stefan & Prinz Joachim & Weimar Daniel, 2014. "Diamonds are Forever: Job-Matching and Career Success of Young Workers," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(4), pages 450-473, August.
    9. Johnny Ducking & Peter A. Groothuis & James Richard Hill, 2014. "Minimum Pay Scale and Career Length in the NBA," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 617-635, October.
    10. Martina Gianecchini & Alberto Alvisi, 2015. "Late career of superstar soccer players: win, play, or gain?," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0192, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    11. Boyden Nathaniel B & Carey James R, 2010. "From One-and-Done to Seasoned Veterans: A Demographic Analysis of Individual Career Length in Major League Soccer," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 6(4), pages 1-17, October.
    12. Peter A. Groothuis & James Richard Hill, 2015. "Exit Discrimination in the NBA. Is there a Bias against Foreigners?," Working Papers 15-10, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University, revised 2015.
    13. Craig A. Depken II & Johnny Ducking & Peter A. Groothuis, 2015. "Career Duration in the NHL: Bias against Europeans?," Working Papers 15-09, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    14. Rodenberg Ryan & Kim Jun Woo, 2012. "Testing the On-Court Efficacy of the NBA's Age Eligibility Rule," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-23, June.
    15. Craig A. Depken & Johnny Ducking & Peter A. Groothuis, 2017. "Career duration in the NHL: pushing and pulling on Europeans?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(59), pages 5923-5934, December.
    16. Jeffrey Chu & Saralees Nadarajah & Emmanuel Afuecheta & Stephen Chan & Ying Xu, 2014. "A statistical study of racism in English football," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(5), pages 2915-2937, September.
    17. Borland, Jeff & Lee, Leng & Macdonald, Robert D., 2011. "Escalation effects and the player draft in the AFL," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 371-380, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand


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