Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees
AbstractThe NBA provides an intriguing place to test for taste-based discrimination: referees and players are involved in repeated interactions in a high-pressure setting with referees making the type of split-second decisions that might allow implicit racial biases to manifest themselves. Moreover, the referees receive constant monitoring and feedback on their performance. (Commissioner Stern has claimed that NBA referees “are the most ranked, rated, reviewed, statistically analyzed and mentored group of employees of any company in any place in the world.”) The essentially arbitrary assignment of refereeing crews to basketball games, and the number of repeated interactions allow us to convincingly test for own-race preferences. We find—even conditioning on player and referee fixed effects (and specific game fixed effects)—that more personal fouls are called against players when they are officiated by an opposite-race refereeing crew than when officiated by an own-race crew. These biases are sufficiently large that we find appreciable differences in whether predominantly black teams are more likely to win or lose, based on the racial composition of the refereeing crew.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6369.
Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Other versions of this item:
- Price, Joseph & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," IZA Discussion Papers 2863, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," NBER Working Papers 13206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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