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Human Capital, Sport Performance, and Salary Determination of Professional Athletes

  • R. Antonietti

Thanks to the high availability of data, professional sport represents a unique laboratory in order to test labour market theories and predictions. In particular, one of the most important propositions concerns the role that human capital plays in shaping the life-cycle earnings patterns of workers. To the extent that sport can be considered as a type of human capital investment, human capital theory can help to understand, and empirically assess, how the professional sports labour market rewards performance attributes of players. On this purpose, this piece of work reviews the most important economic contributions focused on the wage determination of professional athletes with the aim of outlining both the emerging common features and the main issues. In so doing, a distinction between professional team-sports and professional single-player sports is done, where the former is represented by the most popular sports in North America and Europe, such as baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer, whereas the latter is primarily represented by professional golf in the US.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number 561.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:561
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  1. Paul M. Sommers & Noel Quinton, 1982. "Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball: The Case of the First Family of Free Agents," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 426-436.
  2. 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.
  3. Idson, Todd L & Kahane, Leo H, 2000. "Team Effects on Compensation: An Application to Salary Determination in the National Hockey League," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(2), pages 345-57, April.
  4. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "The Sports Business as a Labor Market Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 75-94, Summer.
  5. Stephen Shmanske, 2000. "Gender, Skill, and Earnings in Professional Golf," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(4), pages 385-400, November.
  6. Sloane, Peter J, 1971. "The Economics of Professional Football: The Football Club as a Utility Maximiser," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 18(2), pages 121-46, June.
  7. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281.
  8. Claudio Lucifora & Rob Simmons, 2003. "Superstar Effects in Sport: Evidence From Italian Soccer," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 4(1), pages 35-55, February.
  9. Stefan Szymanski & Ron Smith, 1997. "The English Football Industry: profit, performance and industrial structure," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 135-153.
  10. Simon Rottenberg, 1956. "The Baseball Players' Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 242.
  11. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
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