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Does it pay to specialize? The story from the Gridiron

  • R Simmons
  • D Berri
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    In the field of personnel economics, there are few opportunities to convincingly test for salary returns to specialization as against versatility or multi-tasking. This paper performs such a test by modeling returns to performance measures associated with two different skills practiced by running backs in the National Football League. We find pronounced gains to specialization with substantial predicted differences in returns for alternative skills. Moreover, these differences vary across the salary distribution. In the top half of the salary distribution, especially, model simulations show that specialists in either particular skill generate higher marginal returns than versatile players.

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    File URL: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/media/lancaster-university/content-assets/documents/lums/economics/working-papers/SpecializeGridiron.pdf
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    Paper provided by Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department in its series Working Papers with number 591134.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:591134
    Contact details of provider: Postal: LANCASTER LA1 4YX
    Phone: +44 (1524) 594601
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    Web page: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/lums
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    1. Krautmann, Anthony C, 1999. "What's Wrong with Scully-Estimates of a Player's Marginal Revenue Product," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(2), pages 369-81, April.
    2. Robert Simmons & David Berri, 2005. "Race and evaluation of signal callers in the National Football League," IASE Conference Papers 0511, International Association of Sports Economists.
    3. Scully, Gerald W, 1974. "Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 915-30, December.
    4. Michael A. Leeds & Sandra Kowalewski, 2001. "Winner Take All in the NFL," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 2(3), pages 244-256, August.
    5. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "The Sports Business as a Labor Market Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 75-94, Summer.
    6. Anthony C. Krautmann & Peter von Allmen & David Berri, 2009. "The Underpayment of Restricted Players in North American Sports Leagues," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 4(3), pages 161-175, August.
    7. Idson, Todd L & Kahane, Leo H, 2000. "Team Effects on Compensation: An Application to Salary Determination in the National Hockey League," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(2), pages 345-57, April.
    8. Garicano, Luis & Hubbard, Thomas N, 2007. "Managerial Leverage Is Limited by the Extent of the Market: Hierarchies, Specialization, and the Utilization of Lawyers' Human Capital," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 1-43, February.
    9. Berri David J. & Schmidt Martin B. & Brook Stacey L., 2006. "Review of Wages of Wins: A Reply," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 2(4), pages 1-12, October.
    10. Rob Simmons & David Berri, 2008. "Race and the Evaluation of Signal Callers in the National Football League," IASE Conference Papers 0825, International Association of Sports Economists.
    11. Green, Francis & Machin, Stephen & Wilkinson, David, 1998. "The Meaning and Determinants of Skills Shortages," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(2), pages 165-87, May.
    12. Kevin G. Quinn, 2006. "Who Should be Drafted? Predicting Future Professional Productivity of Amateur Players Seeking to Enter the National Football League," IASE Conference Papers 0611, International Association of Sports Economists.
    13. Turner, Chad & Hakes, Jahn, 2007. "Pay, productivity and aging in Major League Baseball," MPRA Paper 4326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Wallace Hendricks & Lawrence DeBrock & Roger Koenker, 2003. "Uncertainty, Hiring, and Subsequent Performance: The NFL Draft," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 857-886, October.
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