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Productivity, Wages, and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball

  • Cornaglia, Francesca

    ()

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Feldman, Naomi E.

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Board)

Using a sample of professional baseball players from 1871–2007, this paper aims at analyzing a longstanding empirical observation that married men earn significantly more than their single counterparts holding all else equal (the "marriage premium"). Baseball is a unique case study because it has a long history of statistics collection and numerous direct measurements of productivity. Our results show that the marriage premium also holds for baseball players, where married players earn up to 16 percent more than those who are not married, even after controlling for selection. The results hold only for players in the top third of the ability distribution and post 1975 when changes in the rules that govern wage contracts allowed for players to be valued closer to their true market price. Nonetheless, there do not appear to be clear differences in productivity between married and nonmarried players. We discuss possible reasons why employers may discriminate in favor of married men.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5695.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5695
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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
  2. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina & Stratton, Leslie S., 2005. "Is Marriage Poisonous? Are Relationships Taxing? An Analysis of the Male Marital Wage Differential in Denmark," IZA Discussion Papers 1591, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  8. Depken II, Craig A. & Ford, Jon M., 2006. "Customer-based discrimination against major league baseball players: Additional evidence from All-star ballots," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1061-1077, December.
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  11. Robert A. Nakosteen & Michael A. Zimmer, 1987. "Marital Status and Earnings of Young Men: A Model with Endogenous Selection," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 248-268.
  12. Nardinelli, Clark & Simon, Curtis, 1990. "Customer Racial Discrimination in the Market for Memorabilia: The Case of Baseball," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 575-95, August.
  13. Robert MOFFIT & John FITZGERALD & Peter GOTTSCHALK, 1999. "Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Role of Selection on Observables," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 55-56, pages 129-152.
  14. Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Examining the Wage Differential for Married and Cohabiting Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(2), pages 199-212, April.
  15. Jacobsen, Joyce P & Rayack, Wendy L, 1996. "Do Men Whose Wives Work Really Earn Less?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 268-73, May.
  16. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Non-response in panel data : The impact on estimates of a life cycle consumption function," Other publications TiSEM 3c661e33-2cd1-47f1-a7d9-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  17. Christopher R. Bollinger & Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2003. "The Upside Potential of Hiring Risky Workers: Evidence from the Baseball Industry," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 923-944, October.
  18. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Harry A. Krashinsky, 2004. "Do Marital Status and Computer Usage Really Change the Wage Structure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  20. Donna K. Ginther & Madeline Zavodny, 2001. "Is the male marriage premium due to selection? The effect of shotgun weddings on the return to marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 313-328.
  21. Kenny, Lawrence W, 1983. "The Accumulation of Human Capital during Marriage by Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 223-31, April.
  22. Gwartney, James & Haworth, Charles, 1974. "Employer Costs and Discrimination: The Case of Baseball," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 873-81, July/Aug..
  23. Schoeni, Robert F, 1995. "Marital Status and Earnings in Developed Countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 351-59, November.
  24. Blackburn, McKinley & Korenman, Sanders, 1994. "The Declining Marital-Status Earnings Differential," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 247-70, July.
  25. Gerald S. Oettinger, 1999. "An Empirical Analysis of the Daily Labor Supply of Stadium Vendors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 360-392, April.
  26. Chun, Hyunbae & Lee, Injae, 2001. "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 307-19, April.
  27. Cornwell, Christopher & Rupert, Peter, 1997. "Unobservable Individual Effects, Marriage and the Earnings of Young Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 285-94, April.
  28. Charles J. Mullin & Lucia F. Dunn, 2002. "Using Baseball Card Prices to Measure Star Quality and Monopsony," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 620-632, October.
  29. Francine D. Blau & Andrea H. Beller, 1988. "Trends in earnings differentials by gender, 1971û1981," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(4), pages 513-529, July.
  30. Hanssen, F Andrew & Andersen, Torben, 1999. "Has Discrimination Lessened over Time? A Test Using Baseball's All-Star Vote," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(2), pages 326-52, April.
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