Talent Recruitment and Firm Performance: The Business of Major League Sports

38 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2013

Date Written: October 3, 2013


Firms rely heavily on their investments in human capital to achieve profits. This research takes advantage of detailed information on worker performance and confidential information on firm revenue and operating costs to investigate the relationship between talent migration and firm profitability in major league sports. One key problem that firms have is identifying performance measures for its workforce, especially for potential employees (recruits). In contrast to nearly all other industries, in the industry of professional team sports, detailed information about the past performance of each individual worker (athlete) is known to all potential employers. First, I demonstrate using public data that worker athlete) statistics aggregated to the establishment (team) level correlate with success on the field (measured in win percentage). Second, I use confidential data from the 2007 Economic Censuses, and from the 2007 and 2008 Service Annual Surveys to investigate the link between individual worker performance and team profitability, controlling for many other aspects of the sports business, specifically taking account of the mobility of athletic “stars” and “superstars” from one team to another. The investigations in this paper provide support for the hypothesis that hiring talented individuals (stars) will increase a firm’s profit. However, there is not convincing support for the incremental benefit of hiring superstars. The mixed evidence suggests a benefit on balance.

Suggested Citation

Weinberg, Daniel H., Talent Recruitment and Firm Performance: The Business of Major League Sports (October 3, 2013). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP-13-54, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2373559 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2373559

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