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Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination

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  • Christopher A. Parsons
  • Johan Sulaeman
  • Michael C. Yates
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Abstract

We explore umpires' racial/ethnic preferences in the evaluation of Major League Baseball pitchers. Controlling for umpire, pitcher, batter and catcher fixed effects and many other factors, strikes are more likely to be called if the umpire and pitcher match race/ethnicity. This effect only exists where there is little scrutiny of umpires' behavior -- in ballparks without computerized systems monitoring umpires' calls, at poorly attended games, and when the called pitch cannot determine the outcome of the at-bat. If a pitcher shares the home-plate umpire's race/ethnicity, he gives up fewer runs per game and improves his team's chance of winning. The results suggest that standard measures of salary discrimination that adjust for measured productivity may generally be flawed. We derive the magnitude of the bias generally and apply it to several examples.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13665.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Publication status: published as Parsons, Christopher A., Johan Sulaeman, Michael C. Yates, and Daniel S. Hamermesh. 2011. "Strike Three: Discrimination, Incentives, and Evaluation" American Economic Review, 101(4): 1410-35.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13665

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  1. Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Nationalism in Winter Sports Judging and Its Lessons for Organizational Decision Making," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 67-99, 03.
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  6. Price, Joseph & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," CEPR Discussion Papers 6369, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Scully, Gerald W, 1974. "Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 915-30, December.
  8. Stephen Donald & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2004. "What is Discrimination? Gender in the American Economic Association," NBER Working Papers 10684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Anthony C. Krautmann & Elizabeth Gustafson & Lawrence Hadley, 2003. "A Note on the Structural Stability of Salary Equations: Major League Baseball Pitchers," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 4(1), pages 56-63, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Boeri, Tito & Severgnini, Battista, 2011. "Match rigging and the career concerns of referees," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 349-359, June.
  2. Bagues, Manuel & Perez-Villadoniga, Maria J., 2012. "Do recruiters prefer applicants with similar skills? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 12-20.

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