Do the highest paid NBA players misbehave more?


I compare and contrast theories of why NBA players misbehave on the court, then test them empirically. I find evidence that earnings are positively correlated with misbehavior and that both absolute and relative salary matter. For instance, a player who is highest paid on his team misbehaves roughly 7% more than one who is second-highest paid, even at the same salary level. This relative effect I interpret as due to lack of good substitutes for top players. I also find some evidence that personal preferences may be important in understanding misbehavior, but no evidence that immaturity or peer effects are important determinants of misbehavior in the NBA.

Source: “Celebrity Misbehavior in the NBA” from Journal of Sports Economics

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