nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2015‒02‒28
three papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Good girl, bad boy: Corrupt behavior in professional tennis By Michael Jetter ; Jay K. Walker
  2. The effects of elite sports participation on later job success By Dewenter, Ralf ; Giessing, Leonie
  3. All-Star or Benchwarmer? Relative Age, Cohort Size and Career Success in the NHL By Alex Bryson ; Rafael Gomez ; Tingting Zhang

  1. By: Michael Jetter ; Jay K. Walker
    Abstract: This paper identifies matches on the male and female professional tennis tours in which one player faces a high payoff from being “on the bubble” of direct entry into one of the lucrative Grand Slam tournaments, while their opposition does not. Analyzing over 378,000 matches provides strong evidence for corrupt behavior on the men’s tour, as bubble players are substantially more likely to beat better ranked opponents when a win is desperately needed. However, we find no such evidence on the women’s tour. These results prevail throughout a series of extensions and robustness checks, highlighting gender differences regarding corrupt and unethical behavior, but also concerning collusion. We especially find evidence for collusion once monetary incentives are further increased. Finally, the market for sports betting does not seem to be aware of this phenomenon, suggesting a market imperfection and further confirming our suspicion of irregular activities in men’s tennis.
    Keywords: cheating; corruption; gender differences; Oaxaca decomposition; sport; tennis
    JEL: D73 J16 L83 Z13
    Date: 2015–01–31
  2. By: Dewenter, Ralf ; Giessing, Leonie
    Abstract: This paper analyses the income effect of the participation in elite sports using a unique dataset on former German top-level athletes. To quantify the average treatment effect we use covariate nearestneighbour matching. While our treatment group consists of formerly top-level athletes the control group of non-athletes is drawn from the GSOEP database. On average, former athletes receive higher incomes than similar non-athletes. Moreover, team sports athletes as well as male athletes realise significantly higher incomes. Comparing the income of former female athletes with male non-athletes, we find that participating in elite sports closes the gender-wage gap.
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Alex Bryson ; Rafael Gomez ; Tingting Zhang
    Abstract: We analyze the performance outcomes of National Hockey League (NHL) players over 18 seasons (1990-1991 to 2007-2008) as a function of the demographic conditions into which they were born. We have three main findings. First, larger birth cohorts substantially affect careers. A player born into a large birth cohort can expect an earnings loss of roughly 18 percent over the course of an average career as compared to a small birth cohort counterpart. The loss in earnings is driven chiefly by supply-side factors in the form of excess cohort competition and not quality differences since the performance of players (as measured by point totals for non-goalies) is actually significantly greater for players born into large birth cohorts. Performance-adjusted wage losses for those born in large birth cohorts are therefore greater than the raw estimates would suggest. Second, career effects differ by relative age. Those born in early calendar months (January to April) are more likely to make it into the NHL, but display significantly lower performance across all birth cohorts than later calendar births. In short, those in the top echelon of NHL achievement are drawn from fatter cohorts and later relative age categories, consistent with the need to be of greater relative talent in order to overcome significant early barriers (biases) in achievement. We find league expansions increase entry level salaries including the salaries of those born into larger birth cohorts, but they do not affect salaries of older players. Finally we find that the 2004-05 lockout appears to have muted the differentials in pay for large birth cohort players relative to their smaller birth cohort counterparts.
    Keywords: Cohort size, relative age, performance, productivity, wages, career, NHL
    JEL: J1 J24 J31 J62
    Date: 2015–02

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