Human Capital Equity Returns: Evidence from the National Football League

Posted: 26 May 2020

See all articles by Jordan Moore

Jordan Moore

Rowan University - Accounting & Finance

Date Written: April 26, 2020


Human capital comprises a substantial portion of global wealth, but equity claims to human capital are not publicly traded. I analyze ten transactions between April 2014 and July 2016 in which ten active players in the National Football League (NFL) sell equity claims to their future labor income. The proceeds from these equity contracts total more than $38 million and value the human capital of these athletes at more than $357 million. These transactions represent the largest, most transparent dealings in human capital equity contracts by private parties. I estimate the expected returns of these human capital initial public offerings (IPO) using NFL contract data and player performance statistics. The average expected return of these IPOs is 5.9% before expenses. Expected returns are larger for human capital equity investments in players from teams in smaller geographic markets.

Keywords: Human Capital, Financial Innovation, Sports Economics

JEL Classification: J24, G12, G23, D14, Z22

Suggested Citation

Moore, Jordan, Human Capital Equity Returns: Evidence from the National Football League (April 26, 2020). Available at SSRN:

Jordan Moore (Contact Author)

Rowan University - Accounting & Finance ( email )

Glassboro, NJ 08028
United States

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