Rev Austrian Econ (2007) 20:11–24
Austrian themes, data, and sports economics
Published online: 18 January 2007
Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007
Abstract This paper uses data from Major League Baseball and themes from
Moneyball by Michael Lewis to empirically illustrate Kirznerian entrepreneurship.
While Kirzner envisioned competition in markets for proﬁt, the sports economics
literature shows that sporting competition has things in common with market compe-
tition. This is important because a strength of sports economics, namely, the abundant
data, can help overcome a perceived weakness of Austrian economics, namely, the
lack of empirical content. This paper describes and empirically conﬁrms how certain
front ofﬁce decision makers of the Oakland Athletics were alert to opportunities that
were being overlooked by other baseball executives.
Keywords Austrian economics
JEL Codes B53
In Competition and Entrepreneurship, Israel Kirzner sets forth his view of en-
trepreneurship as a discovery process undertaken by alert individuals who ﬁnd prof-
itable opportunities in the current (dis)equilibrium.
Entrepreneurs need not bring any
resources to an activity in order to be successful, except perhaps that part of their
human capital that allows them to discover, or uncover, opportunities that are already
there. The proﬁt opportunity can take a variety of forms such as: the discovery of a
new production process or a different way of doing things, the discovery of a new
market for one’s output or a new product that better satisﬁes an existing want, and/or
the discovery of a new cheaper source for an existing input or even a wholly new com-
bination of inputs. The person making such a discovery can act upon the information
S. Shmanske (
Department of Economics, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA 94542, USA
See Shmanske (1994) and the response by Kirzner (1994) on the issue of whether the world should be
seen as in equilibrium or disequilibrium prior to an entrepreneurial discovery. The ultimate resolution of
this issue is not important to the use of Kirznerian entrepreneurship in this paper.