The Short and Long-Run Labor Market Effects of Age Eligibility Rules: Evidence from Women’s Professional Tennis
Age is often used in law and public policy as a low-cost proxy for competency, maturity, and ability. Age is also used in numerous sport (and non-sport) labor markets to determine workplace eligibility. We exploit the enactment of the women’s professional tennis minimum age rule (AR) in 1995 to estimate the effects of ARs on short-run and long-run labor market outcomes. We find very limited evidence that the AR has had any systematic beneficial effect on players’ career longevity or success. Our results suggest that sport governing bodies should (re-)evaluate the efficacy and necessity of “one size fits all” age eligibility rules.