How Fans React to Labor Disputes in Professional Sports

Posted on October 5, 2010 by


My latest at Huffington Post reviews the results of research Martin Schmidt and I published in the American Economic Review (AER) in 2004.  Via some fairly sophisticated time-series analysis, Marty and I found that labor disputes do not statistically impact attendance in professional sports.  In other words, fans often threaten to leave when the players or owners walk.  But fans don’t follow through (in statistically significant numbers).

To the extent non-economists pay attention to my research, it is Wins Produced (or basketball research in general) that often gets the most attention.  My work on basketball, though, isn’t considered as significant to economists (to the extent that anyone in economics think what I do is significant) as this paper in the AER (the leading journal – of more than 400 journals — in economics).  And now that labor disputes are once again on the horizon I thought it might be a good idea to note the story this research is telling.

 – DJ

Posted in: Sports Econ