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.


Age rules Labor policies Tennis 

JEL Classification

J44 J77 L83 



The authors would like to thank Marcel Battre, Kevin Thom, Andrew Nutting, Jeremy Arkes, Andrea Eagleman, Michelle Humowiecki, and conference participants at the Western Economics Association, Southern Economic Association, and Northern California Symposium on Statistics and Operations Research in Sports for helpful comments. Amanda Coble, Young Do Kim, and Jun Woo Kim provided excellent research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport ManagementFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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