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Are subjective evaluations biased by social factors or connections? An econometric analysis of soccer referee decisions

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  • Vincenzo Scoppa

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Abstract

Many incentive contracts are based on subjective evaluations and contractual disputes depend on judges’ decisions. However, subjective evaluations raise risks of favouritism and distortions. Sport contests are a fruitful field for testing empirically theories of incentives. In this paper the behaviour of the referees in the Italian soccer (football) league (“Serie A”) is analyzed. Using data on injury (or extra) time subjectively assigned by the referee at the end of the match and controlling for factors which may influence it (players substitutions, yellow and red cards, penalty kicks, etc.), we show that referees are biased in favour of home team, in that injury time is significantly greater if home teams are losing. The refereeing bias increases greatly when there is no running track in the stadium and the crowd is close to the pitch. Following the 2006 “Serie A” scandal we test whether favouritism emerges towards teams suspected of connections with referees finding that these teams obtain favourable decisions. Social pressure by the crowd attending the match however appears to be the main cause of favouritism. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2008

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Empirical Economics.

Volume (Year): 35 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
Pages: 123-140

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Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:35:y:2008:i:1:p:123-140

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Keywords: Favouritism; Subjective evaluation; Sport economics; M50; L83; Z13;

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Cited by:
  1. Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2014. "Does The Home Advantage Depend On Crowd Support? Evidence From Same-Stadium Derbies," Working Papers 201402, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
  2. Juan Mendoza & Andrés Rosas, 2013. "Referee Bias in Professional Soccer: Evidence from Colombia," VNIVERSITAS ECONÓMICA 011059, UNIVERSIDAD JAVERIANA - BOGOTÁ.
  3. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2008. "The Effects of Managerial Turnover: Evidence from Coach Dismissals in Italian Soccer Teams," MPRA Paper 11030, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Vincenzo Scoppa, 2013. "Fatigue And Team Performance In Soccer: Evidence From The Fifa World Cup And The Uefa European Championship," Working Papers 201301, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
  5. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Priks, Mikael, 2010. "Behavior under social pressure: Empty Italian stadiums and referee bias," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 212-214, August.
  6. Dawson, Peter & Dobson, Stephen, 2010. "The influence of social pressure and nationality on individual decisions: Evidence from the behaviour of referees," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 181-191, April.
  7. Andrés Picazo-Tadeo & Francisco Gónzalez-Gómez & Jorge Guardiola Wanden-Berghe, 2011. "Referee home bias due to social pressure. Evidence from Spanish football," Working Papers 1119, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
  8. Katherine G. Yewell & Steven B. Caudill & Franklin G. Mixon, Jr., 2014. "Referee Bias and Stoppage Time in Major League Soccer: A Partially Adaptive Approach," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(1), pages 1-19, February.
  9. Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo & Francisco González-Gómez & Jorge Guardiola, 2011. "The importance of time in referee home bias due to social pressure. Evidence from Spanish football," FEG Working Paper Series 03/11, Faculty of Economics and Business (University of Granada).
  10. Andres Giraldo & Juan Mendoza & Andrés Rosas & Dayana Tellez, 2013. "Managerial Turnover: Coach Dismissals and Team Performance in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE ECONOMÍA 011054, UNIVERSIDAD JAVERIANA - BOGOTÁ.

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