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Do Former College Athletes Earn More at Work? A Nonparametric Assessment

Author

Listed:
  • Henderson, Daniel J.

    () (University of Alabama)

  • Olbrecht, Alexandre

    () (Ramapo College of New Jersey)

  • Polachek, Solomon

    () (Binghamton University, New York)

Abstract

This paper investigates how students' collegiate athletic participation affects their subsequent labor market success. It uses newly developed distributional tests to establish that the wage distribution of former college athletes is significantly different from non-athletes and that athletic participation is a significant determinant of wages. Additionally, by using newly developed techniques in nonparametric regression, it shows that on average former college athletes earn a wage premium. However, the premium is not uniform, but skewed so that more than half the athletes actually earn less than non-athletes. Further, the premium is not uniform across occupations. Athletes earn more in the fields of business, military, and manual labor, but surprisingly, athletes are more likely to become high school teachers, which pays a relatively lower wage to athletes. We conclude that nonpecuniary factors play an important role in occupational choice, at least for many former collegiate athletes.

Suggested Citation

  • Henderson, Daniel J. & Olbrecht, Alexandre & Polachek, Solomon, 2005. "Do Former College Athletes Earn More at Work? A Nonparametric Assessment," IZA Discussion Papers 1882, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1882
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. John M. Barron & Bradley T. Ewing & Glen R. Waddell, 2000. "The Effects Of High School Athletic Participation On Education And Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 409-421, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barbara Kotschwar & Kevin Stahler, 2016. "Level the Playing Field to Bolster the Boardroom: Sports as a Springboard for Women's Labor Force Advancement in Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 11(1), pages 117-134, January.
    2. Fricke, Hans & Lechner, Michael & Steinmayr, Andreas, 2017. "The Effect of Physical Activity on Student Performance in College: An Experimental Evaluation," CEPR Discussion Papers 12052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Lechner, Michael, 2009. "Long-run labour market and health effects of individual sports activities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 839-854, July.
    4. Zhu, Rong, 2011. "NILS Working paper no 170. The impact of major--job mismatch on college graduates' early career earnings," NILS Working Papers 26072, National Institute of Labour Studies.
    5. Müller, Michael, 2015. "Der Zusammenhang zwischen sportlicher (Wettkampf-)Aktivität und kognitiver Leistung," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 1/2015, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
    6. Michael Mueller, 2016. "Does Sporting Activity Foster Career Advancement?," Eastern European Business and Economics Journal, Eastern European Business and Economics Studies Centre, vol. 2(4), pages 285-298.
    7. Lundin, Martin & Nordström Skans, Oskar & Zetterberg, Pär, 2016. "Leadership experiences, labor market entry, and early career trajectories," Working Paper Series 2016:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    8. Olbrecht, Alexandre, 2009. "Do academically deficient scholarship athletes earn higher wages subsequent to graduation?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 611-619, October.
    9. Lundin, Martin & Nordström Skans, Oskar & Zetterberg, Pär, 2018. "Leadership Experiences, Labor Market Entry, and Early Career Trajectories," IZA Discussion Papers 11434, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Müller, Michael, 2016. "Fördert sportliche Aktivität den beruflichen Aufstieg?," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 02/2016, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
    11. repec:ner:leuven:urn:hdl:123456789/424882 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Zhu, Rong, 2011. "Individual heterogeneity in returns to education in urban China during 1995-2002," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 84-87, October.
    13. Steven Caudill & James Long, 2010. "Do former athletes make better managers? Evidence from a partially adaptive grouped-data regression model," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 275-290, August.
    14. Barbara Kotschwar, 2014. "Women, Sports, and Development: Does It Pay to Let Girls Play?," Policy Briefs PB14-8, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    15. Caruso, Raul, 2011. "Crime and sport participation: Evidence from Italian regions over the period 1997–2003," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 455-463.
    16. Ozkan Eren & Daniel J. Henderson, 2008. "The impact of homework on student achievement," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 11(2), pages 326-348, July.
    17. Michael Müller, 2016. "Der Zusammenhang zwischen sportlicher (Wettkampf-)Aktivität und kognitiver Leistung," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 838, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    nonparametric; generalized Kernel estimation; wage determination; sports economics; earnings; athletics;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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