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Do white NBA players suffer from reverse discrimination?

Gbenga Ajilore

Economics Bulletin, 2014, vol. 34, issue 1, 558-566

Abstract: The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been fertile ground for the study of discrimination due to demographic and cultural shifts in not only the teams but also the fan populace. The early research found evidence of black-white wage differentials and customer discrimination (Kahn and Sherer, 1988). However, this effect has gone away as customers have become more accustomed to African-Americans in the NBA. Recent research has now shown that the pendulum has swung in the other direction and find the existence of reverse discrimination (Groothuis and Hill, 2013; Yang and Lin, 2010). In this paper, I test whether there exist reverse discrimination with White athletes in the NBA. Following Altonji and Pierret (2001), I use a statistical discrimination with employer learning framework to estimate the model. Unlike previous work, I incorporate advanced basketball metrics like Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Win Shares (WS) to measure player productivity. The results find no evidence of reverse discrimination occurring.

Keywords: NBA; Statistical Discrimination; Race; Advanced Statistics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J3 J7 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-03-31
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