430 PART SIX THE ECONOMICS OF LABOR MARKETS CASE STUDY DISCRIMINATION IN SPORTS As we have seen, measuring discrimination is often difficult. To determine whether one group of workers is discriminated against, a researcher must cor-rect for differences in the productivity between that group and other workers in the economy. Yet, in most firms, it is difficult to measure a particular worker’s contribution to the production of goods and services. One type of firm in which such corrections are easier is the sports team. Pro-fessional teams have many objective measures of productivity. In baseball, for instance, we can measure a player’s batting average, the frequency of home runs, the number of stolen bases, and so on. Studies of sports teams suggest that racial discrimination is, in fact, common and that much of the blame lies with customers. One study, published in the Jour-nal of Labor Economics in 1988, examined the salaries of basketball players. It found that black players earned 20 percent less than white players of comparable ability. The study also found that attendance at basketball games was larger for teams
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