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Favouritism and financial incentives: A natural experiment

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  • Robert Witt

    (University of Surrey)

  • Neil Rickman

    (University of Surrey)

Abstract

Principals who exercise favouritism towards certain agents may harm those who are not so favoured. Other papers have produced evidence consistent with the presence of such favouritism but have been unable to consider methods for controlling it. We address this issue in the context of a natural experiment from English soccer, where one particular league introduced professional referees in 2001-02, thereby changing the financial incentives and monitoring regime faced by these referees. Because the change was not effected in all leagues, the ‘experiment’ has both cross-sectional and intertemporal dimensions. We study the effects of professional referees on an established measure of referee bias: length of injury time in close matches. We find that referees exercised favouritism prior to professionalism but not afterwards, having controlled for selection and soccer-wide effects. The results are consistent with a financial incentive effect as a result of professional referees and indicate that subtle aspects of principal-agent relationships (such as favouritism) are amenable to contractual influence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Surrey in its series School of Economics Discussion Papers with number 0105.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:0105

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Keywords: Favouritism; financial incentives; soccer; referee;

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References

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  1. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-78, October.
  2. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 5940d5c4875c571776fb29700, Penn Economics Department.
  3. 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.
  4. Gray, Alastair & Rickman, Neil & Fenn, Paul, 1999. "Professional Autonomy and the Cost of Legal Aid," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 545-58, July.
  5. Naegelen, Florence & Mougeot, Michel, 1998. "Discriminatory public procurement policy and cost reduction incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 349-367, March.
  6. Zantman, Wilfried, 2002. " Constitutional Design and Regional Favoritism," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(1), pages 71-93.
  7. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios & Canice Prendergast, 2001. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," NBER Working Papers 8376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Peter Dawson & Stephen Dobson, 2008. "The influence of social pressure and nationality on individual decisions: evidence from the behaviour of referees," Working Papers 2008/14, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Business School, Economics Division.
  2. Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo & Francisco González-Gómez & Jorge Guardiola, 2011. "The importance of time in referee home bias due to social pressure. Evidence from Spanish football," FEG Working Paper Series 03/11, Faculty of Economics and Business (University of Granada).
  3. Alex Bryson & Babatunde Buraimo & Rob Simmons, 2010. "Do Salaries Improve Worker Performance?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1019, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Dey, Oindrila & Banerjee, Swapnendu, 2013. "Status, incentives and random favouritism," MPRA Paper 49188, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. repec:lan:wpaper:3946 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Donna Harris & Benedikt Herrmann & Andreas Kontoleon, 2009. "Two's Company, Three's a Group: The impact of group identity and group size on in-group favouritism," Environmental Economy and Policy Research Working Papers 41.2009, University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economics, revised 2009.
  7. Babatunde Buraimo & David Forrest & Robert Simmons, 2007. "The Twelfth Man? Refereeing Bias in English and German Soccer," Working Papers 0707, International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists.
  8. Juan Mendoza & Andrés Rosas, 2013. "Referee Bias in Professional Soccer: Evidence from Colombia," VNIVERSITAS ECONÓMICA 011059, UNIVERSIDAD JAVERIANA - BOGOTÁ.
  9. repec:lan:wpaper:3661 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Andrés Picazo-Tadeo & Francisco Gónzalez-Gómez & Jorge Guardiola Wanden-Berghe, 2011. "Referee home bias due to social pressure. Evidence from Spanish football," Working Papers 1119, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
  11. Roberto Antonietti, 2008. "Il ruolo economico dell’arbitro di calcio: una rassegna della letteratura e alcune questioni aperte," Rivista di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport, Centro di diritto e business dello Sport, vol. 4(3), pages 75-103, Dicembre.
  12. Reilly, Barry & Witt, Robert, 2011. "Disciplinary sanctions in English Premiership Football: Is there a racial dimension?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 360-370, June.
  13. Katherine G. Yewell & Steven B. Caudill & Franklin G. Mixon, Jr., 2014. "Referee Bias and Stoppage Time in Major League Soccer: A Partially Adaptive Approach," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(1), pages 1-19, February.

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