Do Former College Athletes Earn More at Work? A Nonparametric Assessment

29 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2005

See all articles by Daniel J. Henderson

Daniel J. Henderson

University of Alabama; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Xiamen University - Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE)

Alexandre Olbrecht

Ramapo College of New Jersey

Solomon W. Polachek

State University of New York at Binghamton; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2005

Abstract

This paper investigates how students' collegiate athletic participation affects their subsequent labor market success. It uses newly developed distributional tests to establish that the wage distribution of former college athletes is significantly different from non-athletes and that athletic participation is a significant determinant of wages. Additionally, by using newly developed techniques in nonparametric regression, it shows that on average former college athletes earn a wage premium. However, the premium is not uniform, but skewed so that more than half the athletes actually earn less than non-athletes. Further, the premium is not uniform across occupations. Athletes earn more in the fields of business, military, and manual labor, but surprisingly, athletes are more likely to become high school teachers, which pays a relatively lower wage to athletes. We conclude that nonpecuniary factors play an important role in occupational choice, at least for many former collegiate athletes.

Keywords: nonparametric, generalized Kernel estimation, wage determination, earnings, sports economics, athletics

JEL Classification: C14, J10, J30, J40, L83

Suggested Citation

Henderson, Daniel J. and Olbrecht, Alexandre and Polachek, Solomon W., Do Former College Athletes Earn More at Work? A Nonparametric Assessment (December 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1882, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=870291

Daniel J. Henderson

University of Alabama ( email )

P.O. Box 870244
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HOME PAGE: http://cba.ua.edu/~djhender

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=en&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/

Xiamen University - Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE)

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Xiamen, Fujian 10246
China

Alexandre Olbrecht

Ramapo College of New Jersey ( email )

505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ 07430
United States

Solomon W. Polachek (Contact Author)

State University of New York at Binghamton ( email )

Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States
607-777-2144 (Phone)
607-777-4900 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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