Microeconomics wins again.
So while outright collusion among owners is certainly possible, it isn’t necessary to explain what’s going on. It’s far more likely that what we’re seeing in recent winters is simply the hard cold math resulting from a mismatch between how much money each team is raking in overall and how much of that revenue each individual player can lay claim to being responsible for.
“A lot of us in academia wrote about that and actually told the players’ association that that was going to be the effect,” says Stanford sports economist Roger Noll. “And they didn’t really believe us, because they thought that salaries were driven simply by total income, not by the increment to income driven by a player.”
(Link via Marginal Revolution.)