IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Impact of Competition on Performance Disparities in Organizational Systems


  • Ira Horowitz

    (University of Florida)


Stephen Jay Gould suggests that individual ability has an upper bound in competitive endeavors and tends to improve as a result of that competition. Consequently, over time there is a diminution in the differences in individual performance that will be observed in, and have an impact on, organizational systems. Major League Baseball offers an interesting opportunity for exploring that suggestion in depth. Based on seven performance categories, this article suggests that there has not been any long-term trend toward lessening the talent disparities in baseball. Rather, the bulk of the empirical evidence leads to the conclusion that the disparities have widened. Gould offers his thesis as an explanation for the observed long-term trend of increased competitive balance in the majors. Because the thesis fails the empirical test, the economic explanation of rational profit-maximizing owners who recognize the need to maintain fan interest through competitive games and pennant races retains its pride of place.

Suggested Citation

  • Ira Horowitz, 2000. "The Impact of Competition on Performance Disparities in Organizational Systems," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(2), pages 151-176, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:1:y:2000:i:2:p:151-176

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:1:y:2000:i:2:p:151-176. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.