Chelsea’s transfer ban and the potential for player hold-up

FIFA have punished Chelsea by banning them from the signing new players in the next two transfer windows after they were found guilty of inducing Gael Kakuta, a France youth international, to breach his contract with Lens in 2007. The decision means that Chelsea will not be able to add to their squad until January 2011.

Fifa’s regulations on the status and transfer of players state in Article 17, paragraph 4: “It shall be presumed, unless established to the contrary, that any club signing a professional who has terminated his contract without just cause has induced that professional to commit a breach. The club shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for two registration periods.”

How will this ban affect the incentives of current players registered with Chelsea? The club, being unable to sign new players, will be desperate to hold on to what they already have. The current players, knowing that the club cannot look elsewhere to replace them, will be in the driving seat when it comes to contract negotiation as they can effectively ‘hold-up’ the club to meet their demands.

The precedent for such bans being enforced is not strong, however, with Roma having their ban reduced to one summer transfer window (arguably the less important transfer window in a season) and Swiss club Sion currently appealing their two window ban.

Can free markets punish racists?

The Standard mentions the writings of Richard Epstein on racial discrimination and says:

A charitable reading of Epstein’s work is that he believes employment law stopping employers from putting “No Blacks or Jews” on their situations vacant ads is ineffective and counter-productive. Instead, we should allow employers to openly discriminate against people on the basis of race, age and sex because the free market will punish them for their irrational choices.

It’s a very interesting topic on which I’m no expert, so I shan’t wade into the debate on affirmative action. However, the latter sentence quoted just makes no sense from an economic perspective. Read more

Playing with the big boys

Everyone knows that big firms pay more: that’s why people want to work there. There are a few explanations as to why this might be the case. Maybe big firms make greater rents by exercising market power. maybe they can attract more skilled workers. Maybe there are economies of scale which make them more efficient and increase the productivity of their workers.

A recent study by John Gibson and Steve Stillman has a look at whether it’s attributable to higher skills:

We use the International Adult Literacy Survey, which gives richer skill measures than those typically available in labor market surveys, to measure the BFP in nine countries with and without controls for worker skill. The results show that the BFP is not as universal as is often suggested, but in countries where it exists controlling for skills does little to reduce the size of the BFP.

Read more

NZIER: Suggestions for unemployment policy

Interesting piece from NZIER on unemployment policies.

It is a fairly broad sweep over the issues – and so does not go into many of the technical or policy related issues of some concepts. However, it provides a clear way of viewing a number of the potential policies.

However, I was surprised to see no mention of the “paradox of thrift” or how unemployment was fundamentally a “surplus” and thereby represented a “market failure”. If we are going to discuss a set of explicit unemployment policies we need these factors to justify it.

Woe is not primarily me

Ed Glaeser makes an important point about the current recession over at Economix:

it is important to recognize that in this recession, just as in every other recorded downturn, unemployment is overwhelmingly concentrated among those who started with less.

The overall unemployment rate for the more educated is only 4.3 percent. Individuals with a high school degree, but no college, have a 10 percent unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted). The unemployment rate for high school dropouts is 15.5 percent. Moreover, the unemployment rate gap between the most- and least-skilled is widening, not narrowing.

It’s easy for professionals to complain about the problems facing the finance system and the lack of work for finance professionals. Let’s not forget that they are actually very well off compared to the average person in this recession, as in others. Governments may be bailing out financial firms but, if we want to help the most people, we should think about how best to aid the less fortunate among us who are suffering far more.

What’s wrong with being awesome?

Megan McArdle says that old people laid off in the recession find it hard to get work because

…older workers have more skills. In general, more skills is a good thing. But in an increasingly specialized society, those skills are increasingly specific,. The more skills you have, the fewer jobs there are that match them.

I don’t really get this. If you’re more experienced then you have more skills and more specialised skills. But you were once junior so you have mastery of all the skills that junior people have in addition to your specialised skills. I can accept that you might struggle to get a job utilising all your skills but, since you’ve been there and done that, you can probably do a junior job way better than a junior person.
Read more