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Minoru Nakazato & J. Mark Ramseyer, Bidding for Ballplayers: A Research Note, 26 J. Japanese L. 85 (2008).

Abstract: Is Japanese baseball a different game? In this short research note we offer a new approach to the question Whiting posed so famously and polemically three decades ago – we ask whether owners in the two countries bid for players offering different skills. If baseball in Japan “isn’t baseball,” then perhaps owners compete for a different type of player? In the note that follows, we combine data on player performance and salaries to ask whether they do. Obviously, this is a limited inquiry. We do not address many of the myriad other ways in which baseball might indeed differ in the two countries. Nonetheless, we do offer the project as a way to test indirectly an important component of Whiting’s more general proposition – whether fans in the two countries demand different athletic contests. We follow the discussion with three peripheral but distinct inquiries: (a) which kinds of players earn the highest endorsement incomes?; (b) do teams pay Japanese and American players and black American and white American players equally?; and (c) what effect do the mandatory nine-year contracts in Japan have on player pay?