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Referee home bias due to social pressure. Evidence from Spanish football

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Author Info

  • Andrés Picazo-Tadeo

    (Universidad de Valencia)

  • Francisco Gónzalez-Gómez

    ()
    (Universidad de Granada)

  • Jorge Guardiola Wanden-Berghe

    (Universidad de Granada)

Abstract

This paper analyses referee home bias due to social pressure with data from the matches played in the First Division of the Spanish football league between the 2002/03 and 2009/10 seasons. The aim is to assess the behaviour of the referee in relation to two decisions, namely free kicks awarded and players booked. The variables used to explain referee behaviour are the number of spectators attending matches, the percentage occupation of the stadium and the existence or not of running tracks, all of which are intended to represent social pressure, in addition to referee experience. Furthermore, two control variables concerning ball possession and shots at goal are included. Regarding methodology, two random effects panel data regression models are estimated. The first model explains the difference in the number of home team fouls and away team fouls, while the second explains the difference in yellow and red cards shown to local and away teams. The results obtained cannot confirm, at least in the period under analysis, that Spanish football referees have been biased in favour of the home team when it comes to awarding free kicks. However, once a free kick has been awarded, there does appear to be a referee home bias in the punishment a player receives for committing a foul. These findings suggest that when there is a large crowd in the stadium, the referee tends to find it easier to book away team players than home players. A sensible hypothesis that could explain this result is that the time the referee has to make a decision does affect the final outcome. While referees are not biased when it comes to awarding a free kick, they are when given more time to make a decision, allowing social pressure to work in favour of the home time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia in its series Working Papers with number 1119.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eec:wpaper:1119

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Related research

Keywords: Social pressure; crowd effect; referee home bias; sports economics;

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References

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  1. Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2008. "Are Subjective Evaluations Biased by Social Factors or Connections? An Econometric Analysis of Soccer Referee Decisions," MPRA Paper 15819, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Peter Dawson & Stephen Dobson, 2009. "The Influence of Social Pressure and Nationality on Individual Decisions: Evidence from the Behaviour of Referees," NCER Working Paper Series 46, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  3. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios & Canice Prendergast, 2001. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," NBER Working Papers 8376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Babatunde Buraimo & David Forrest & Robert Simmons, 2010. "The 12th man?: refereeing bias in English and German soccer," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 173(2), pages 431-449.
  5. Koning, Ruud H., 2003. "Home advantage in speed skating: evidence from individual data," Research Report 03F38, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  6. Thomas J. Dohmen, 2008. "The Influence Of Social Forces: Evidence From The Behavior Of Football Referees," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(3), pages 411-424, 07.
  7. Francisco Gonzalez-Gomez & Andres J. Picazo-Tadeo, 2010. "Can We Be Satisfied With Our Football Team? Evidence From Spanish Professional Football," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 11(4), pages 418-442, August.
  8. repec:ise:isegwp:wp42007 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. 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.
  10. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher, . "Favoritism of agents – The case of referees’ home bias," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-28, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  11. Neil Rickman & Robert Witt, 2008. "Favouritism and Financial Incentives: A Natural Experiment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(298), pages 296-309, 05.
  12. Carbonell-Nicolau Oriol & Comin Diego, 2009. "Testing the Commitment Hypothesis in Contractual Settings: Evidence from Soccer," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 5(4), pages 1-40, October.
  13. Trandel Gregory A & Maxcy Joel G, 2011. "Adjusting Winning-Percentage Standard Deviations and a Measure of Competitive Balance for Home Advantage," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-17, January.
  14. Guido Ascari & Philippe Gagnepain, 2007. "Evaluating Rent Dissipation in the Spanish Football Industry," Post-Print hal-00622841, HAL.
  15. Per Pettersson-Lidbom & Mikael Priks, 2007. "Behavior under Social Pressure: Empty Italian Stadiums and Referee Bias," CESifo Working Paper Series 1960, CESifo Group Munich.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Referee home bias
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-07-29 14:14:00
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Cited by:
  1. Giacomo De Luca & Jeroen Schokkaert & Jo Swinnen, 2011. "Cultural Differences, Assimilation and Behavior: Player Nationality and Penalties in Football," LICOS Discussion Papers 29711, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.

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