Analysis of Labor Market Inefficiencies in the NBA Draft Due to College Conference Bias

Publication Year



basketball, draft, productivity, college conference, bias


Econometrics | Economics | Labor Economics | Sports Studies


Are NBA teams allowing a college conference bias effect their decision making during the NBA draft, keeping them from drafting the most productive players? In labor theory, employers set out to find employees that have the highest productivity rate for the lowest cost. This paper explores the inefficiencies in the NBA labor market, primarily through the NBA draft, due to NBA teams not drafting the more productive players. If NBA team’s drafting methods are such that bias towards drafting players from certain college conferences exists, despite players from that conference being traditionally less productive, then NBA teams are not only limiting total on-court production, but total team revenues as well. The sample that I observed included all players that were drafted between the 2000 and 2010 NBA drafts, and excluded any players that did not attend a Division I college. I used a series of regression models modeling player productivity and their draft position estimate the effects of several categories of independent variables such as player’s college performance, physical characteristics, college conference, and coaches. While the effects were only marginal, the final results did reveal that there was some college conference bias in the NBA draft.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status


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