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Empirical Shifts in Major League Baseball Roster Management: Effects of the 1976 Labor Agreement

John Crooker (), Christopher Azevedo () and Aju Fenn ()

Journal of Economic Insight, 2019, vol. 45, issue 1, 57-83

Abstract: In 1976, Major League Baseball (MLB) signed a labor agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) that allowed all players to become free agents after six years of MLB experience. This agreement weakened the reserve clause that had been in place in MLB since the late 1880s. Our focus in this investigation is to empirically assess the impact of this labor agreement on the roster management of MLB teams. We use MLB team roster data from the 1951 through 2000 seasons. This allows us to split the data into 25 years before and 25 years after the labor agreement. We find statistically significant changes in roster management between these subsamples. In the theoretical section of the paper, we discuss several hypotheses explaining why teams altered roster management strategies.

JEL-codes: D23 D43 Z2 Z22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:mve:journl:v:45:y:2019:i:1:p:57-83