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RIP Gerald Scully 1941-2009

2009 May 7
by Phil Miller

Gerald Scully has died of pancreatic cancer. Every sports economist is familiar with his books and his seminal 1974 AER article in which he estimated how much MLB players were underpaid relative to their marginal contribution to team revenue under baseball’s reserve clause. His estimation involved examining the determinants of revenue and the determinants of winning percentage. From this he was able to estimate a player’s contribution to team productivity and, consequently, to team revenue.

I personally have cited his work extensively in my sports economics classes and had two students undertake independent studies that built upon Scully’s pioneering work in the economics of sports.

Here is David Henderson’s write-up at the Library of Economics and Liberty. Here is a piece by John Goodman. Here is a piece at Marginal Revolution. Here is Scully’s write up on the economics and sports at the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.

Thanks to John Chilton for the heads-up.

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