Technological change and obsolete skills: Evidence from men's professional tennis

Ian Fillmore*, Jonathan D. Hall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Technological innovation can raise the returns to some skills while making others less valuable or even obsolete. We study the effects of such skill-altering technological change in the context of men's professional tennis, which was unexpectedly transformed by the invention of composite racquets during the late 1970s. We explore the consequences of this innovation on player productivity, entry, and exit. We find that young players benefited at the expense of older players and that the disruptive effects of the new racquets persisted over two to four generations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102051
JournalLabour Economics
Volume73
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Nathaniel Baum-Snow, Thomas Dohmen, George-Levi Gayle, Todd Jones, Glenn MacDonald, Hani Mansour, Robert McMillan, Peter Morrow, Michael Smart, two anonymous referees, and participants at the Midwest Economics Association meetings for excellent feedback. This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. We thank Jeff Reel and Bram Tukker at the ATP for sharing the data. The statistical information contained herein has been provided by, and is being reproduced with permission of, ATP Tour, Inc., which is the sole copyright owner of the information. Declarations of interest: none

Funding Information:
We thank Nathaniel Baum-Snow, Thomas Dohmen, George-Levi Gayle, Todd Jones, Glenn MacDonald, Hani Mansour, Robert McMillan, Peter Morrow, Michael Smart, two anonymous referees, and participants at the Midwest Economics Association meetings for excellent feedback. This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. We thank Jeff Reel and Bram Tukker at the ATP for sharing the data. The statistical information contained herein has been provided by, and is being reproduced with permission of, ATP Tour, Inc., which is the sole copyright owner of the information. Declarations of interest: none

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Human capital
  • Technological change
  • Tennis

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