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Discrimination in a Rank Order Contest. Evidence from the NFL Draft

Ian Gregory-Smith (), Alex Bryson and Rafael Gomez ()
Additional contact information
Rafael Gomez: University of Toronto

No 15473, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: This paper examines discrimination in the NFL draft. The NFL is a favourable empirical setting to examine the role of skin colour because franchise selectors are required to make rank-order judgements of players based on noisy signals of future productivity. Since wages are tightly related to the rank-order of the draft for the first four years of a player's career, even if discrimination plays only a marginal role in selection, there could be a large discriminatory impact. We observe large unadjusted racial differences in drafting. However, much of the variation is explained by Black and White players selecting into different playing positions. Conditional upon a large set of control variables, including athletic performance at a marque selection event (the NFL combine), we do not find robust evidence of racial discrimination in NFL drafting between 2000 and 2018.

Keywords: discrimination; race; NFL (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J15 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2022-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hrm, nep-lma, nep-spo and nep-ure
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Forthcoming - published in: Journal of Economics, Race and Policy, 2023, 6, 215-231

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