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Microeconomics Question from Walter E. Williams:Edit

"On a proportional basis, there are too many Negroes and too few Jews among professional athletes. This shows that sports have overcome racial discrimination but not religious discrimination." Comment.

AnswerEdit

Mean-spirited discrimination of any kind is highly unlikely (in competitive markets) due to the fact that it would be too costly. Sports is one such competitive market, where small ordinal differences in ability pay major returns (especially at 3+ standard deviations).

Endulging in such discrimination would have a major impact on revenues due to the specialized nature of the employment skills involved. Instead, it is more likely that some groups chose to develop talents, or place emphasis in different areas due to cultural bias or genetic tendencies, resulting in differing opportunities or differing preferences.

Sport professionals clearly engage in discrimination, however, when they scout for new athletes as a way to correct for asymetrical information. If a scouter hears about two great basketball players, one Jewish and one black, then he is more likely to observe (and thus recruit) the black player while allowing experiance to discount the other player because information economies are biased in that direction.

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