nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2007‒11‒10
three papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Talent and/or Popularity - What Does it Take to Be a Superstar By Egon Franck; Stephan NŸesch
  2. Interactions Between Workers and the Technology of Production: Evidence from Professional Baseball By Eric D. Gould; Eyal Winter
  3. Learning Unethical Practices from a Co-worker: The Peer Effect of Jose Canseco By Gould, Eric D; Kaplan, Todd

  1. By: Egon Franck; Stephan NŸesch (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich; Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Based on the competing Ð however not mutually exclusive Ð theories of superstar formation proposed by Rosen (1981) and Adler (1985), it is controversial if talent alone or other factors like popularity also influence stardom. One of the main obstacles to testing the superstar theories is the inherent difficulty of measuring talent. This article investigates superstar emergence in professional sports for which relative tournaments help to identify talent. Running quantile regressions we find evidence that both talent and popularity significantly contribute to the starsÕ market values.
    Keywords: superstars, soccer, talent, popularity
    JEL: J31 J44 L83
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Eric D. Gould (Hebrew University and IZA); Eyal Winter (Hebrew University)
    Abstract: This paper examines how the effort choices of workers within the same firm interact with each other. In contrast to the existing literature, we show that workers can affect the productivity of their co-workers based on income maximization considerations, rather than relying on behavioral considerations such as peer pressure, social norms, and shame. Theoretically, we show that a worker’s effort has a positive effect on the effort of co-workers if they are complements in production, and a negative effect if they are substitutes. The theory is tested using panel data on the performance of baseball players from 1970 to 2003. The empirical analysis shows that a player’s batting average significantly increases with the batting performance of his peers, but decreases with the quality of the team’s pitching. Furthermore, a pitcher’s performance increases with the pitching quality of his teammates, but is unaffected by the batting output of the team. These results are inconsistent with behavioral explanations which predict that shirking by any kind of worker will increase shirking by all fellow workers. The results are consistent with the idea that the effort choices of workers interact in ways that are dependent on the technology of production. These findings are robust to controlling for individual fixed-effects, and to using changes in the composition of one’s co-workers in order to produce exogenous variation in the performance of one’s peers.
    Keywords: peer effects, team production, externalities
    JEL: J2
    Date: 2007–10
  3. By: Gould, Eric D; Kaplan, Todd
    Abstract: This paper examines the issue of whether workers learn productive skills from their co-workers, even if those skills are unethical. Specifically, we estimate whether Jose Canseco, one of the best baseball players in last few decades, affected the performance of his teammates. In his autobiography, Canseco claims that he improved the productivity of his teammates by introducing them to steroids. Using panel data on baseball players, we show that a player's performance increases significantly after they played with Jose Canseco. After checking 30 comparable players from the same era, we find that no other baseball player produced a similar effect. Clearly, Jose Canseco had an unusual influence on the productivity of his peers. These results are consistent with Canseco's controversial claims, and suggest that workers not only learn productive skills from their co-workers, but sometimes those skills may derive from unethical practices. These findings may be relevant to many workplaces where competitive pressures create incentives to adopt unethical means to boost productivity and profits.
    Keywords: corruption; crime; peer effects
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2007–11

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