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Nationalism in Winter Sports Judging and Its Lessons for Organizational Decision Making

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  • Zitzewitz, Eric

    (Stanford U)

Abstract

This paper exploits nationalistic biases in Olympic winter sport judging to study the problem of designing a decision making process that uses the input of potentially biased agents. Judges score athletes from their own countries higher than other judges do, and they appear to vary their biases strategically in response to the stakes, the scrutiny given the event, and the degree of subjectiveness of the performance aspect being scored. Ski jumping judges display a taste for fairness in that they compensate for the nationalistic biases of other panel members, while figure skating judges appear to engage in vote trading and bloc judging. Career concerns create incentives for judges: biased judges are less likely to be chosen to judge the Olympics in ski jumping but more likely in figure skating; this is consistent with judges being chosen centrally in ski jumping and by national federations in figure skating. The sports truncate extreme scores to different degrees; both ski jumping and, especially, figure skating are shown to truncate too aggressively; this may contribute to the vote trading in figure skating. These findings have implications for both the current proposals for reforming the judging of figure skating and for designing decision making in organizations more generally.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 1796.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1796

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  1. Zitzewitz, Eric, 2001. "Measuring Herding and Exaggeration by Equity Analysts and Other Opinion Sellers," Research Papers 1802, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  2. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Point Shaving: Corruption in NCAA Basketball," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 279-283, May.
  3. Prendergast, Canice, 1993. "A Theory of "Yes Men."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 757-70, September.
  4. David Romer, 2002. "It's Fourth Down and What Does the Bellman Equation Say? A Dynamic Programming Analysis of Football Strategy," NBER Working Papers 9024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Michel Balinski & Rida Laraki, 2010. "Judge:Don't Vote!," Working Papers hal-00536968, HAL.
  2. Jonathan Reuter & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Do ADS Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 197-227, 02.
  3. Parsons, Christopher A. & Sulaeman, Johan & Yates, Michael C. & Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2008. "Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 3899, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Lee, Jungmin, 2004. "Outlier Aversion in Evaluating Performance: Evidence from Figure Skating," IZA Discussion Papers 1257, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Björn Frank & Stefan Krabel, 2012. "Gens una sumus? – Or Does Political Ideology Affect Experts’ Aesthetic Judgement of Chess Games," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201237, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  6. Moul, Charles C. & Nye, John V.C., 2009. "Did the Soviets collude? A statistical analysis of championship chess 1940-1978," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 10-21, May.

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