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Racial Discrimination in English Football

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  • Preston, Ian
  • Szymanski, Stefan

Abstract

This paper examines data on the racial composition and financial and sporting performance of professional English soccer teams between 1974 and 1993. In an earlier paper, Szymanski showed that teams with an above average proportion of black players would tend to perform better on average that would have been expected given the aggregate wage bills of these clubs. Since players are more or less freely traded in soccer this presents strong market-based evidence of discrimination. In the present paper we explore the source of such discrimination. In particular we are concerned to test the hypothesis that discrimination is attributable to the fans rather than the owners. If fans were racially prejudiced then the owners of a team might expect to generate a smaller marginal revenue product from a black player compared to an equally skilled white player. We assess the presence of fan discrimination by examining relationships between attendance, revenues, performance and the proportion of black players in the team. We also incorporate evidence regarding statements of racial prejudice (from the British Social Attitudes Survey) in particular regions. We find little evidence that the discrimination against black players has its source in fan discrimination. Copyright 2000 by Scottish Economic Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 47 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 342-63

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:47:y:2000:i:4:p:342-63

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Cited by:
  1. Maarten Vendrik & Christiane Schwieren, 2010. "Identification, screening and stereotyping in labour market discrimination," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 141-171, March.
  2. Roberto Antonietti, 2008. "Il ruolo economico dell’arbitro di calcio: una rassegna della letteratura e alcune questioni aperte," Rivista di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport, Centro di diritto e business dello Sport, vol. 4(3), pages 75-103, Dicembre.
  3. Depken II, Craig A. & Ford, Jon M., 2006. "Customer-based discrimination against major league baseball players: Additional evidence from All-star ballots," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1061-1077, December.
  4. Dennis Wilson & Yung-Hsiang Ying, 2003. "Nationality preferences for labour in the international football industry," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(14), pages 1551-1559.
  5. Vendrik,Maarten C.M. & Schwieren,Christiane, 2005. "Identification, screening and stereotyping in labor market discrimination," Research Memorandum 013, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  6. J. James Reade & Sachiko Akie, 2013. "Using Forecasting to Detect Corruption in International Football," Working Papers 2013-005, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
  7. Reilly, Barry & Witt, Robert, 2011. "Disciplinary sanctions in English Premiership Football: Is there a racial dimension?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 360-370, June.

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