Shirking on the Court: Testing for the Incentive Effects of Guaranteed Pay



Prior work on long-term contracts and the incentive to shirk has focused almost exclusively on Major League Baseball. The current inquiry is the first to examine shirking in the National Basketball Association. We employed two different measures of player productivity. When the NBA's measure is used, we find evidence consistent with allegations of shirking behavior. But when productivity is measured in a fashion more consistent with economists' definition of marginal product, the evidence of shirking evaporates. (JEL J41, J44, L83)