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What Can International Cricket Teach Us About the Role of Luck in Labor Markets?


  • Shekhar Aiyar
  • Rodney Ramcharan


How important is luck in determining labor market outcomes? We address this question using a new dataset of all international test cricketers who debuted between 1950 and 1985. We present evidence that a player’s debut performance is strongly affected by an exogenous source of variation: whether the debut series is played at home or abroad. This allows us to identify the role of luck - factors unrelated to ability - in shaping future career outcomes. We find that players lucky enough to debut at home perform significantly better on debut. Moreover, debut performance has a large and persistent impact on long run career outcomes. We also make headway in empirically distinguishing between competing explanations for why exogenous initial conditions exercise a persistent impact on career performance

Suggested Citation

  • Shekhar Aiyar & Rodney Ramcharan, 2010. "What Can International Cricket Teach Us About the Role of Luck in Labor Markets?," IMF Working Papers 10/225, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/225

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
    2. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887.
    3. Edward P. Lazear, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," NBER Working Papers 9679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Burke Paul J., 2012. "Economic Growth and Political Survival," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-43, March.


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