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ARE WORKERS WILLING TO PAY TO JOIN A BETTER TEAM?

Thomas Zimmerfaust

Economic Inquiry, 2018, vol. 56, issue 2, 1278-1295

Abstract: Using data from the Major League Baseball free‐agent market, this study is the first to show that the productivity expected of the team a worker will join produces a significant, negative compensating wage differential. The younger workers in the sample drive this result, trading 25% of their wages to join teams with an expected productivity one standard deviation higher. This investment can be recouped if a reasonable increase in human capital occurs. These results are robust to contract length‐wage simultaneity and indicate that investment in human capital motivates the observed tradeoff, suggesting a new pathway through which human capital accumulation can affect wages. Reliable measures of workers' own past productivity and the productivity expected of a worker's future team provide key advantages to identifying these effects. (JEL J31, J24, M54)

Date: 2018
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