Prejudice and Progress in Baseball

Stephen J. K. Walters

in The Oxford Handbook of Sports Economics

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195387780
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Prejudice and Progress in Baseball

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This article explores the organized baseball's racial record as far back as the 1880s, when segregation took root in baseball, through Branch Rickey's hiring of Jackie Robinson in 1947, up to the present day. It describes how baseball became segregated and segregation's feedback effects on black players' labor supply decisions. It presents data on black-white earning differences prior to reintegration of the sport. It addresses why reintegration took so long and how it ultimately occurred. Robinson's breakthrough and its immediate aftermath, and the empirical literature on the post-integration period are evaluated. The existence of an active market for baseball memorabilia has enabled researchers to test for fan bias in the form of a willingness to pay more for products featuring white (black) players, ceteris paribus. Baseball has taught a great deal about how complicated and persistent are racial bias' effects, and about the short- and long-term economic consequences of discrimination.

Keywords: baseball; racial record; Branch Rickey; Jackie Robinson; discrimination; labor supply; black players; earning differences

Article.  8239 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Industry Studies ; Microeconomics

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