Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in NHL Hockey

30 Pages Posted: 21 May 2008

See all articles by John P. Haisken-DeNew

John P. Haisken-DeNew

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; McMaster University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics

Matthias Vorell

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen)

Date Written: May 2008

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.

Keywords: Compensating wage differentials, health risk, violence, subjective

JEL Classification: J31, J81, C23

Suggested Citation

Haisken-DeNew, John P. and Vorell, Matthias, Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in NHL Hockey (May 2008). Ruhr Economic Paper No. 47. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1135225 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1135225

John P. Haisken-DeNew (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

McMaster University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada

Matthias Vorell

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany

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