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Productivity under Large Pay Increases: Evidence from Professional Baseball

  • Papps, Kerry L.


    (University of Bath)

The establishment of the free agency system in the 1970s resulted in large salary increases among professional baseball players. Historical data show that players have tended to perform better at early stages of their careers since free agency was introduced. Under the current salary bargaining system, players only become eligible for salary arbitration and free agency at predetermined points in their careers, resulting in sudden changes in salary growth rates at these points. Using data on official days of major league service, it is found that players with high expected salary growth perform better, consistent with efficiency wage theory.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5133.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5133
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  1. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2002. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric D. Gould & Eyal Winter, 2009. "Interactions between Workers and the Technology of Production: Evidence from Professional Baseball," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 188-200, February.
  3. Scott M. Fuess & Meghan Millea, 2002. "Do Employers Pay Efficiency Wages? Evidence from Japan," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 23(2), pages 278-292, April.
  4. Blass, Asher A, 1992. "Does the Baseball Labor Market Contradict the Human Capital Model of Investment?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 261-68, May.
  5. Wadhwani, Sushil B & Wall, Martin, 1991. "A Direct Test of the Efficiency Wage Model Using UK Micro-data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(4), pages 529-48, October.
  6. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Riddell, Chris, 2006. "Performance Pay and Earnings: Evidence from Personnel Records," IZA Discussion Papers 2253, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:917-962 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Levine, David I, 1992. "Can Wage Increases Pay for Themselves? Tests with a Production Function," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1102-15, September.
  9. Anne Gielen & Marcel Kerkhofs & Jan Ours, 2010. "How performance related pay affects productivity and employment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 291-301, January.
  10. Enrico Moretti & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 2002. "Efficiency Wages, Deferred Payments, and Direct Incentives in Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1144-1155.
  11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:2:p:533-575 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Booth, Alison L & Frank, Jeff, 1999. "Earnings, Productivity, and Performance-Related Pay," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 447-63, July.
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