Skill Adoption, Learning and Diffusion: Evidence from Soviet-style Hockey
SeriesPhD Lunch Seminars
LocationErasmus University Rotterdam, Mandeville T3-14
Date and time
May 11, 2022
12:00 - 13:00
How does the arrival of workers with new skills affect existing workers? We examine how the large influx of Soviet born hockey players in the National Hockey League (NHL) after 1989 affected other players. The Soviet style of hockey was largely based on skilled skating, constant movement, circling and passing. In contrast, the North American play was more individualistic and linear, with higher emphasis on physical strength. Using 50 years of data at the player-game level, we show that (i) the number of penalty minutes per game increased steadily from 1970 to 1989, while decreasing thereafter; (ii) these trends are driven by North American born players while Soviet born players have systematically less penalty minutes per game upon arrival and throughout the post-1989 period; (iii) the number of penalty minutes per game of North American born players decreases systematically with the number of Soviet born players on their team and on their opponents’ team; (iv) the Soviet style of hockey becomes predominant among championship winners over time and irrespectively of the number of Soviet born players on the team. Evidence shows that the new skills brought about by new players are learned by other players and diffuse among other organizations. Joint paper with Francesco Amodio and Jeremy Schneider.