Bryn Mawr Economics Professor’s Research Cited in Article by Noted Writer Malcolm Gladwell

Posted August 29th, 2011 at 4:02 pm.

Research by Assistant Professor of Economics Johnathan Lanning was cited in a recent article by New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, and several other bestsellers.

Writing about the NBA lockout on the website Grantland, Gladwell makes the point that owners of sports team have a long history of buying and managing teams based more on “psychic benefits” than on the financial bottom line.

Gladwell’s article discusses Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and his insistence on not fielding an African-American player as professional sports began to be racially integrated in the 1940s and 1950s.

“In a recent academic paper, the economist Jonathan Lanning has also shown that almost without exception integration in the 1940s and 1950s had an immediate and significant positive impact on a team’s attendance — even in cities where you might not think the fan base would be enthusiastic. Lanning calculates, in fact, that almost no team in baseball had as much to gain financially from bringing in black players as the Red Sox, particularly since they were losing money in the 1940s. Yawkey’s bigotry left millions of dollars on the table.”

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