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Racial Differences in Professional Basketball Players' Compensation


  • Kahn, Lawrence M
  • Sherer, Peter D


This article investigates racial differences in 1985-86 salaries of individual professio nal basketball players. White and black players earn similar mean com pensation; however, controlling for a variety of productivity and mar ket-related variables and for the endogeneity of player draft positio n, the authors find a significant ceteris paribus black compensation shortfall of about 20 percent. Further, they find that all else equal , including team performance and market factors, replacing one black player with an identical white player raises home attendance by 8,000 to 13,000 fans per season. The compensation and attendance results t ogether are consistent with the idea of customer discrimination. Copyright 1988 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Kahn, Lawrence M & Sherer, Peter D, 1988. "Racial Differences in Professional Basketball Players' Compensation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 40-61, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:6:y:1988:i:1:p:40-61
    DOI: 10.1086/298174

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