The economics of persistence: Graduation rates of athletes as labor market choice

Lawrence DeBrock, Wallace Hendricks, Roger Koenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we analyze data for each Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) school on academic characteristics, athletic characteristics, and graduation rates. Three groups of athletes are studied: male football players, male basketball players, and female basketball players. We find strong empirical evidence that traditional labor market opportunities unrelated to sports are significant explanatory variables of the persistence of athletes. In addition, we find support for the hypothesis that professional opportunities have a significant impact on the graduation rate of athletes. This impact is stronger in sports with higher expected financial returns from this form of nondegree employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-539
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Human Resources
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Graduation rates
  • Basketball
  • Student athletes
  • Professional sports
  • College athletics
  • Labor markets
  • Standardized tests
  • Professional schools
  • Colleges
  • Universities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Economics and Econometrics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The economics of persistence: Graduation rates of athletes as labor market choice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this