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Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in NHL Hockey

Author

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  • Haisken-DeNew, John P.
  • Vorell, Matthias

Abstract

The level of violence in the National Hockey League (NHL) reached its highest point in 1987 and has reduced somewhat since then, although to levels much larger than before the first team expansions in 1967. Using publicly available information from several databases 1996-2007, the incentives for violence in North American ice hockey are analyzed. We examine the role of penalty minutes and more specifically, fighting, during the regular season in determining wages for professional hockey players and team-level success indicators. There are substantial returns paid not only to goal scoring skills but also to fighting ability, helping teams move higher in the playoffs and showing up as positive wage premia for otherwise observed low-skill wing players. These estimated per-fight premia, depending on fight success ($10,000 to $18,000), are even higher than those for an additional point made. By introducing a fight fine of twice the maximum potential gain ($36,000) and adding this amount to salaries paid for the team salary cap (fines would be 6.7% of the team salary cap or the average wage of 2 players), then all involved would have either little or no incentives to allow fighting to continue.

Suggested Citation

  • Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Vorell, Matthias, 2008. "Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in NHL Hockey," Ruhr Economic Papers 47, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:47
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucas, Robert E B, 1977. "Hedonic Wage Equations and Psychic Wages in the Returns to Schooling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 549-558, September.
    2. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
    3. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    4. Neil Longley, 1995. "Salary Discrimination in the National Hockey League: The Effects of Team Location," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 21(4), pages 413-422, December.
    5. Kevin Purse, 2004. "Work-related fatality risks and neoclassical compensating wage differentials," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(4), pages 597-617, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Compensating wage differentials; health risk; violence; subjective indicators;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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