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David Berri - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

David Berri David Berri

Professor of Economics | Southern Utah University


Specializing in gender issues in sports and evaluations of players and coaches in sports



Dr. David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University. He has spent the last two decades researching sports and economics, while publishing works on a variety of topics including the evaluation of players and coaches, competitive balance, the drafting of players, labor disputes, the NCAA, and gender issues in sports.

Dr. Berri was the lead author of "The Wages of Wins and Stumbling on Wins" and recently published "Sports Economics", a textbook from Macmillan Publishers. In the past, he has written on the subject of sports economics for a number of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, the Atlantic.com, Time.com, and Vice Sports. Currently, Dr. Berri is writing for Forbes.com.

Dr. Berri graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a bachelor of arts in economics and earned both his master of arts and Ph.D. in economics from Colorado State University.



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Meet Our Professors: David Berri, Economics


Industry Expertise (5)

Education/Learning Sport - Amateur Sport - Professional Writing and Editing Business Services

Areas of Expertise (12)

Distrubution of Wealth and Power Unpaid Athletes in the NCAA NBA Salary Caps Sports Economics NCAA Gender Wage Gap in Sports Gender Issues in Sports Evaluation of Players and Coaches in Sports Economics Competitive Balance in Sports Pay Equality in Sports Gender Wage Gap in Professional Basketball

Accomplishments (3)

Outstanding Scholar (professional)

Southern Utah University Board of Trustees, 2013

Scholar of the Year, Department of Economics & Finance (professional)

Southern Utah University, 2009

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (professional)

Colorado State University, 1996

Education (3)

Colorado State University: Ph.D., Economics

Colorado State University: M.A., Economics

Nebraska Wesleyan University: B.A., Economics

Media Appearances (16)

Hail to the (Underpaid) Champs: A Long Legacy of Sexism in Sports

The New York Times  online


The American women won their fourth World Cup yesterday, and if you haven’t seen Rose Lavelle’s goal yet, I recommend taking a minute to watch it.

Most of the attention today is on the team’s 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final. But whether or not you’re a sports fan, you’ve also probably heard about the dispute between the players and the United States Soccer Federation over pay. The women’s team earns much less than the American men’s team, and the players have filed a lawsuit over the gap. The lawsuit also accuses the federation, which is known as U.S. Soccer, of providing the women with subpar facilities, coaching resources and medical treatment. At the end of yesterday’s match, the crowd in France was chanting, “Equal pay!”

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Multimillion-dollar deals become more common in squeezeplay era of economic superstars

WhyY  online


Bryce Harper’s record-setting $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies took lots of people by surprise when reporters started tweeting it out Thursday afternoon.

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How NBA salary caps hurt the Toronto Raptors

The Conversation  online


David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, found that both leagues have competitive imbalances despite governing under different systems.
He used the Noll-Scully ratio as a metric to measure parity. This ratio would be 1.00 in a league that is perfectly balanced. His research showed that the NBA’s Noll-Scully ratio continuously remained at 2.50, while the MLB’s average ratio was 1.90 in the American League and 1.69 in the National League.

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WNBA players are still treated like second-class citizens. It’s on the NBA to fix that.

The Washington Post  online


This is what second-class citizenship in pro sports looks like.

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Is Overspending Catching Up to These Power 5 Schools?

USA Today  online


The general strategy is that “more spending leads to more wins,” said David Berri, a sports economist and professor at Southern Utah. “No, it’s probably the other way around: If you win more, you’ll have more revenue and can spend more money. That’s why we end up with this.”

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With NBA Picks, Data Can Only Take You So Far

Marketplace  online


The NBA draft takes place tomorrow in Brooklyn, when teams make big bets on young players, hoping they might been the next LeBron James or Steph Curry, that once-in-a-generation player who can transform a team's fortunes. But these players are notoriously risky investments.

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Why N.H.L. Teams May Not Enjoy the Comforts of Home Ice

The New York Times  print


One way analysts have studied randomness in hockey is by watching the performance of goalies.

“In a regular season, your worst goalie is going to block about 86 percent of shots and your best goalie is going to block about 93 percent, and that’s the whole spread,” David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, said. “It’s basically every goalie blocks nine out of 10 shots.”

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Before this Hoops Recruit Chose Indiana, Adidas Made Sure He Stayed Under its Tent

The Washington Post  online


“Even if you’re conservative in your math,” said David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, “a player like this is worth well over a million.”

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Who Will Cleveland Browns Pick in First Round of 2018 NFL Draft?

Bloomberg TV  tv


Southern Utah University Professor of Economics David Berri discusses the potential first round selections for the NFL's 2018 draft. He speaks with Bloomberg's Vonnie Quinn on "Bloomberg Markets."

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Commission on College Basketball Calls for Reforms on One-and-Dones, Undrafted Players

LA Times  online


With college basketball reeling from scandal, an independent NCAA task force has called for widespread reform of a game that has become a multibillion-dollar business fraught with bribery and fraud.

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Should Female Athletes Sue the Networks for Equal Coverage?

The Guardian  online


Women are conditioned to accept what’s given to them and women athletes are no exception. It’s time for a change.

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NCAA Tournament Rakes in Millions on Efforts of Unpaid Athletes, But What's the Solution?

LA Times  online


When sports economists compare these numbers to the value of scholarships that athletes receive, they see a trigger for the corruption scandal enveloping the game.

"If we think about the word 'exploitation,' it has a specific definition," Southern Utah professor David Berri said. "'Exploitation' means you're being paid a wage less than your economic value … any restriction below market prices is going to lead to cheating."

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How LeBron James Says He'd Fix the "Corrupt" NCAA

Washington Post  online


The NCAA is “corrupt,” LeBron James said Tuesday, echoing a sentiment that’s seemingly growing louder as more coaches are implicated in an FBI pay-for-play scandal.

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Is the FBI Cleaning Up College Basketball, or Wasting its Time?

Washington Post  online


Five months later, with the NCAA’s premier event and moneymaker — the men’s basketball tournament — about to tip-off, the sport remains in turmoil. The FBI probe continues, threatening to tarnish legacies, end careers and send coaches and shoe company officials to prison.

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The NBA's Most Overpaid Players 2018

Forbes  online


Our analysis uses a statistic called Wins Produced, which was created by my co-author, David Berri, and is calculated by BoxscoreGeeks.com. It resembles other metrics (like Win Shares) that attempt to measure how much credit a player should get for producing a win, and it similarly weights various statistical inputs (like points and turnovers) to come up with a single wins estimate.

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The Heat Are Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place With Limited Cap Space And Few Trade Assets

Forbes  online


For the purpose of this column, I’ll be defining “underpaid” and “overpaid” based on the data Brett Knight presented in his league-wide evaluation of the most underpaid and overpaid players around the league. As a quick refresher, Forbes uses a method, indebted to Southern Utah University Economist, David Berri, in which we multiply a player’s Wins Estimate Average by the average cost of a win.

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Articles (13)

As Anriel Howard Shows, Underpayment Of Elite Women's Basketball Players Only Begins In College Forbes


A few days ago, it was reported that Anriel Howard was transferring from the Texas A&M Aggies to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Howard was the most productive player on the Aggies last season, and her addition for the 2018-19 season should definitely help the Bulldogs overcome the departure of Victoria Vivians.

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We Subsidize Men's Sports. Maybe It's Time To Subsidize Women's Sports Forbes


The match between Team USA and Team Canada for the Olympic women's hockey gold medal garnered the highest ratings of any late-night show in NBCSN's history. Since their thrilling win, members of Team USA have done a television victory tour, with appearances on the Today show, Ellen Degeneres' show and Saturday Night Live.

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Numbers Say The Wisconsin Badgers Really Exploited Hilary Knight Forbes


One of the highlights of the Winter Olympics for the United States was the gold medal victory in women's hockey. The deciding game between Team USA and Team Canada was one of the most watched game in late night show in NBCSN history. And after the game, members of this team have been guests on numerous television shows and subjects of a number of articles.

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The Future Of The WNBA Would Be Helped By Higher Pay Today Forbes


A few months ago, I argued there is a significant gender-wage gap in professional basketball. While the NBA gives 50% of its revenue to its players, it appears the WNBA pays out only about 20% of its revenue.

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Did Growth Of Women's College Sports Cost Men? Data Says No Forbes


So it appears there is much to like about the progress women have made in sports. But not everyone is happy. Some have argued that the gains women have made have come at the expense of men. Specifically — as Katie Lee reported — people have argued that schools have been forced to cut men’s sports to make women’s sports possible.

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Black NFL Coaches Appear Much More Likely To Be Fired With A Winning Record Forbes


On Sunday, the Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers for their ninth win, leaving them just shy of the playoffs but ensuring they finished the season with a winning record.

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Stephen Curry Would Hate To Be Paid Like Women In Professional Basketball Forbes


Once upon a time, opportunities for women to play team sports were scarce. Not only were women not encouraged to play, women were actively discouraged. But according to R. Vivian Acosta and Linda Jean Carpenter, as of 2014 more than 3.2 million girls (41.2% of all athletes) played high school sports while more than 200,000 women played college sports.

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Some Popular Sports Sites Appear To Cover More Animals Than Women Forbes


What we think about sports is at least partially shaped by the media that covers sports. Once upon a time, sports fans got their news primarily from a newspaper delivered to their house or bought at a newsstand. Today, sports news is primarily found online.

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Cleveland Cavaliers Are Struggling, And Numbers Suggest Where To Place The Blame Forbes


Ask a coach why a team won or lost, and you will soon discover a reluctance to credit or blame any one individual. Coaches love to tell people that success and failure is about the team.

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Think Women Don't Know Sports? You Don't Know As Much About Sports As You Think Forbes


The story of this misunderstanding begins in the 20th century.

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Basketball's Growing Gender Wage Gap: The Evidence The WNBA Is Underpaying Players Forbes


WNBA players are not being treated the same as their counterparts in the NBA. The NBA pays its players about 50% of league revenue. It appears, when we look at what we know about WNBA revenue and salaries, that the league's players are receiving less than 25% of the revenue.

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The Key To Winning The Super Bowl: Looking Good Out There? Huffington Post


More than 100 million Americans will likely spend Sunday night watching the Super Bowl. Although it is not quite the same as a FIFA World Cup Final – which had one billion viewers worldwide in 2014 – the Super Bowl is still a big deal in the United States and around the world.

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Let's Talk About What's Truly Wrong With Women's College Basketball Forbes

Why Connecticut's dominance isn't such a bad thing can be understood by considering both the history of sports and some basic sports economics. Let's start with some familiar stories from sports history.

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Courses (3)

ECON 1740 US Economic History

Satisfies American government requirement of general education. History from colonial times to present. Coverage of U.S. Constitution; national economy; pluralism; ethnicity, race, gender; distribution of wealth and power; social conflict and reform; entrepreneurs, workers, workplace; cultural encounters; popular culture; U.S. and global affairs.

ECON 2020 Principles of Macroeconomics

Introduces measurements of national economic performances: GDP, and interest, inflation and unemployment rates. Develops a model to describe the economic situation, and to present the options available to policy makers. Discusses the institutions and constraints that frame policy. International economic issues and the relation of the U.S. economy to the global economy are then examined.

ECON 4900 Special Topics

Topics in specialized fields of economics and advanced quantitative methods, varying by semester.