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Punishing the Foreigner: Implicit Discrimination in the Premier League Based on Oppositional Identity

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  • Edoardo Gallo
  • Thomas Grund
  • J. James Reade

Abstract

We present the first empirical study to reveal the presence of implicit discrimination in a non-experimental setting. By using a large dataset of in-match data in the English Premier League, we show that white referees award significantly more yellow cards against non-white players of oppositional identity. We argue that this is the result of implicit discrimination by showing that this discriminatory behaviour (i) increases in how rushed the referee is before making a decision, and (ii) it increases in the level of ambiguity of the decision. The variation in (i) and (ii) cannot be explained by any form of conscious discrimination such as taste-based or statistical discrimination. Moreover, we show that oppositional identity players do not differ in their behaviour from other players along several dimensions related to aggressiveness and style of play providing further evidence that this is not statistical discrimination.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Birmingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 12-02.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:12-02

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Postal: Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT
Web page: http://www.economics.bham.ac.uk
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Keywords: Implicit Discrimination; Oppositional Identity; Football;

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  1. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Canice Prendergast, 2005. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 208-216, May.
  2. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2004. "Favoritism of agents - The case of referees' home bias," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 461-469, August.
  3. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Implicit Discrimination in Hiring: Real World Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2764, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887, November.
  5. Barry Reilly & Robert Witt, 1995. "English league transfer prices: is there a racial dimension?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(7), pages 220-222.
  6. Peter Dawson & Stephen Dobson & John Goddard & John Wilson, 2007. "Are football referees really biased and inconsistent?: evidence on the incidence of disciplinary sanction in the English Premier League," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(1), pages 231-250.
  7. Bodvarsson, Orn B & Brastow, Raymond T, 1998. "Do Employers Pay for Consistent Performance?: Evidence from the NBA," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 145-60, January.
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