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Superstars and Journeymen: An Analysis of National Football Team’s Allocation of the Salary Cap across Rosters, 2000-2005

Author

Listed:
  • Kevin G. Quinn

    (St. Nobert College)

  • Melissa Geier

    (St. Nobert College)

  • Anne Berkovitz

    (St. Nobert College)

Abstract

The National Football League constrains teams’ payrolls via a “salary cap.” We analyze how teams allocate cap spending across rosters using a data set of over 10,000 player-season observations during 2000-2005. We find that a few players account for relatively high portions of teams’ caps, and that the players’ “cap values” are consistent with both “superstar” and Yule-Simon income distributions. A theoretical model based on a utility function convex with respect to winning is used to explain this result. We also find that the cap has been substantially effective in reducing teams’ ability to “spend their way to championships.”

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin G. Quinn & Melissa Geier & Anne Berkovitz, 2007. "Superstars and Journeymen: An Analysis of National Football Team’s Allocation of the Salary Cap across Rosters, 2000-2005," Working Papers 0722, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:spe:wpaper:0722
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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/spe/Quinn_NFLJourneymen.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Scully, Gerald W, 1974. "Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 915-930, December.
    3. Stephen Hall & Stefan Szymanski & Andrew S. Zimbalist, 2002. "Testing Causality Between Team Performance and Payroll," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(2), pages 149-168, May.
    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. Kahn, Lawrence M & Sherer, Peter D, 1988. "Racial Differences in Professional Basketball Players' Compensation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 40-61, January.
    6. Chung, Kee H & Cox, Raymond A K, 1994. "A Stochastic Model of Superstardom: An Application of the Yule Distribution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 771-775, November.
    7. Andrew Larsen & Aju J. Fenn & Erin Leanne Spenner, 2006. "The Impact of Free Agency and the Salary Cap on Competitive Balance in the National Football League," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 7(4), pages 374-390, November.
    8. Sloane, Peter J, 1971. "The Economics of Professional Football: The Football Club as a Utility Maximiser," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 18(2), pages 121-146, June.
    9. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-858, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sports; NFL; Draft; Quarterback; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets

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