Positional Segregation and the Economic Hypothesis

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Marshall H. MedoffCalifornia State University–Long Beach

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The various biological, psychological, and sociological hypotheses and the economic hypothesis provided possible explanations of why blacks will be underrepresented at central positions in professional sports. The economic hypothesis attributes this phenomena to the inferior socioeconomic status of blacks and differential skill and development costs. Over the time period 1970–1984, when the psychological and sociological factors remained relatively constant but blacks’ socioeconomic status and access to facilities increased, the data showed that in major league baseball the recruitment of blacks in central positions increased and declined at the noncentral outfield position. This finding was consistent with the economic hypothesis but inconsistent with the alternative hypotheses.

Funding for this research was provided by California State University–Long Beach through the Scholarly and Creative Activity Committee Assigned Time Program.

Direct all correspondence to Marshall H. Medoff, Dept. of Economics, California State University, Long Beach, CA 90840.
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