An Economic Evaluation of the Moneyball Hypothesis
Jahn Karl Hakes
Albion College - Department of Economics and Management
Raymond D. Sauer
Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
October 20, 2005
Michael Lewis's book, Moneyball, is the story of an innovative manager who exploits an inefficiency in baseball's labor market over a prolonged period of time. We evaluate this claim by applying standard econometric procedures to data on player productivity and compensation from 1999 to 2004. These methods support Lewis's argument that the valuation of different skills was inefficient in the early part of this period, and that this was profitably exploited by managers with the ability to generate and interpret statistical knowledge. This knowledge became increasingly dispersed across baseball teams during this period. Consistent with Lewis's story and economic reasoning, the spread of this knowledge is associated with the market correcting the original mis-pricing.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Innovation, market correction, salaries and compensation, baseball
JEL Classification: J31, O33, L83
Date posted: November 13, 2004
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