Economics PhD student Brian Volz, advised by Thomas Miceli, has been a fan of baseball his entire life and spent much of his free time as an undergraduate playing baseball. As a graduate student at UConn he has been lucky enough to incorporate his favorite leisure activity into his study of labor economics.
His paper “Minority Status and Managerial Survival in Major League Baseball” was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Sports Economics. The paper began as a project for one of his PhD field courses and was expanded and revised over the past two years into an economics department working paper and eventually a journal submission. The paper was motivated by the relatively small number of minority managers in a league with a relatively large percentage of minority players. The paper examines the impact of minority status on the survival of Major League Baseball managers in order to determine if discrimination in managerial retention is to blame for the lack of minority managers. In order to answer this question data envelopment analysis, which he was introduced to in Professor Ray‘s (IDEAS) Productivity Analysis course, and survival time analysis are applied to performance and survival data from the 1985 to 2006 baseball seasons. It is shown that when controlling for performance and personal characteristics minorities are on average 9.6% points more likely to return the following season. Additionally, it is shown that winning percentage has no impact on managerial survival when the efficiency of the manager is controlled for.