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Mixing the princes and the paupers: Pay and performance in the National Basketball Association

  • R Simmons
  • D J Berri
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    We investigate how team and individual performances of players in the National Basketball Association respond to variations in intra-team pay inequality. By breaking down team dispersion into conditional and expected components, we find that expected pay dispersion has a positive effect on team and individual performance. We find that team and individual performances are essentially orthogonal to conditional pay inequality, counter to the hypotheses of fairness and cohesion proposed in the literature both for sports and general occupations. A change in collective bargaining regime in 1996 had little impact on either team or player productivity.

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    File URL: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/media/lancaster-university/content-assets/documents/lums/economics/working-papers/PayPerformance.pdf
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    Paper provided by Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department in its series Working Papers with number 611523.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:611523
    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. Christian Grund & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2008. "The Dispersion of Employees' Wage Increases and Firm Performance," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(4), pages 485-501, July.
    2. David J. Berri & Stacey L. Brook & Martin B. Schmidt, 2007. "Does One Simply Need to Score to Score?," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 2(4), pages 190-205, November.
    3. J. Richard Hill & Peter A. Groothuis, 2001. "The New NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Median Voter Model, and a Robin Hood Rent Redistribution," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 2(2), pages 131-144, May.
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    5. 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.
    6. Levine, David, 1989. "Cohesiveness, Productivity, and Wage Dispersion," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt8kd4d0p4, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    7. Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Peers at Work," IZA Discussion Papers 2292, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & François Rycx, 2004. "Intra-Firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance: Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee Data," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 533-558, November.
    9. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimüller, Josef, 1997. "Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 1621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Gould, Eric D. & Winter, Eyal, 2007. "Interactions Between Workers and the Technology of Production: Evidence from Professional Baseball," IZA Discussion Papers 3096, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
    12. Egon Franck & Stephan NŸesch, 2008. "The Effect of Talent Disparity on Team Performance in Soccer," Working Papers 0021, University of Zurich, Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA), revised 2009.
    13. Fredrik Heyman, 2005. "Pay inequality and firm performance: evidence from matched employer-employee data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(11), pages 1313-1327.
    14. David J. Berri & Michael A. Leeds & Eva Marikova Leeds & Michael Mondello, 2009. "The Role of Managers in Team Performance," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 4(2), pages 75-93, May.
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    18. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-24, December.
    19. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. repec:att:wimass:9127 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. David J. Berri, 1999. "Who is 'most valuable'? Measuring the player's production of wins in the National Basketball Association," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 411-427.
    22. Paul Sommers, 1998. "Work incentives and salary distributions in the national hockey league," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 26(1), pages 119-119, March.
    23. David Berri & R. Jewell, 2004. "Wage inequality and firm performance: Professional basketball's natural experiment," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 32(2), pages 130-139, June.
    24. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
    25. 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.
    26. Hajime Katayama & Hudan Nuch, 2011. "A game-level analysis of salary dispersion and team performance in the national basketball association," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(10), pages 1193-1207.
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