It’s a Party in the MLB: An Analysis of Shirking Between Games in Major League Baseball

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
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This paper uses game-level Major League Baseball data to identify whether players with greater job security shirk in their preparation between games. Past work has identified evidence of moral hazard arising in multiyear Major League Baseball player contracts, but little work has been done in identifying when shirking takes place. Using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy, this study finds evidence of an inverse relationship between the number of years remaining on player contracts and performance when the player is playing on short rest, when opportunity to rest is scarce, but not on long rest. Using a triple-difference specification, evidence is found that this inverse relationship between years remaining on a player’s contract when playing on short rest occurs for games played in “party cities.” This evidence would suggest that between game preparation is one avenue through which players on multiyear contracts shirk.

Paulsen (rpaulsen@bloomu.edu) is with the Department of Economics, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, PA, USA.

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