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Browsing by Author "Kurki, Jaakko"

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  • Kurki, Jaakko (2019)
    Wage discrimination occurs when employees of equal productivity receive different wages due to characteristics such as ethnicity, sex, or nationality, which do not affect their productivity directly. One of the common challenges in empirical research on wages has always been the challenge of determining individual employees` productivity. Professional sports leagues such as NBA (National Basketball Association) provide an ideal setting for the study of salary discrimination, as the salaries, players` backgrounds, and different statistical measures of players` performance throughout their whole careers are available publicly. Therefore, economists have used professional sports leagues when studying salary discrimination by ethnicity or nationality. The objective of this research is to find out whether salary discrimination by nationality occurs in the NBA during the period between 2016 and 2018. The research consists of a literature review that introduces previous findings on salary discrimination by nationality in the NBA, and an empirical part which aim is to find out whether this discrimination still occurs in the 2016 – 2018. The dataset of this thesis consists of statistics that measure NBA players' on-court performance and salary during the 2016 – 2017 and 2017 – 2018 seasons, as well as their nationality, and physical attributes. The empirical analysis is carried out using linear regression-analysis, which has been a standard in previous researches on salary discrimination by nationality in the NBA. Moreover, this study applies Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition, which is one of the standard tools used in salary discrimination studies in general. The statistical analysis of this study does not find discrimination by nationality against either foreign or domestic born NBA-players during our sample period. Nevertheless, foreign players earn, on average, around USD 500,000.00 higher annual salaries than their American contemporaries. However, according to our analysis, this difference is explained by foreign players' on-court performance rather than their nationality. Some previous researches find that foreign players from large economic markets receive sizeable salary premiums due to marketing possibilities in their home countries. However, this study does not find the market size of a player's home country to have a statistically significant effect on their salaries. The earliest literature on salary discrimination by nationality in the NBA dates back to the 1990s. Over the years, the results of previous researches have varied between foreign or domestic players being discriminated against by nationality. However, as different tools for statistical analysis on player performance have improved drastically and basketball has indeed become a global sport over the years, it seems that discrimination by nationality does not occur in the NBA anymore in 2019.