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The Designated Hitter Rule and Team Defensive Strategy in Japan’s Professional Baseball Leagues

  • Akihiko Kawaura


    (Graduate School of Policy and Management, Doshisha University)

  • Sumner J La Croix


    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Economists have debated whether and why the designated hitter (DH) rule in North American major league baseball led to an increase in hit-batsmen. We use data from Japan's professional baseball leagues, the Pacific League (DH rule) and the Central League (no DH rule), to re-examine this question. Initial empirical findings reveal increases in hit-batsmen in the Pacific League after we control for the DH’s effect on team batting performance. After controlling for interactions between pitcher quality and the DH rule, we find that the DH rule induced changes in team defensive strategies and, consequently, an increase in hit-batsmen. Subsequent rule changes reduced the effectiveness of these strategies.

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Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200607.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 06 Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200607
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  1. Rodney Fort & James Quirk, 1995. "Cross-subsidization, Incentives, and Outcomes in Professional Team Sports Leagues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1265-1299, September.
  2. Ohtake Fumio & Ohkusa Yasushi, 1994. "Testing the Matching Hypothesis: The Case of Professional Baseball in Japan with Comparisons to the United States," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 204-219, June.
  3. Trandel, Gregory A & White, Lawrence H & Klein, Peter G, 1998. "The Effect of the Designated Hitter Rule on Hit Batsmen: Pitcher's Moral Hazard or the Team's Cost-Benefit Calculation? A Comment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 679-84, October.
  4. Eckard, E Woodrow, 2001. "Free Agency, Competitive Balance, and Diminishing Returns to Pennant Contention," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(3), pages 430-43, July.
  5. Daly, George & Moore, William J, 1981. "Externalities, Property Rights and the Allocation of Resources in Major League Baseball," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(1), pages 77-95, January.
  6. 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 555-61, July.
  7. Goff, Brian L & Shughart, William F, II & Tollison, Robert D, 1998. "Moral Hazard and the Effects of the Designated Hitter Rule Revisited," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 688-92, October.
  8. Yasushi Ohkusa, 1999. "Additional evidence for the career concern hypothesis with uncertainty of the retirement period - the case of professional baseball players in Japan," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(11), pages 1481-1487.
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