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Favouritism and Financial Incentives: A Natural Experiment

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  • NEIL RICKMAN
  • ROBERT WITT

Abstract

Principals who exercise favouritism towards certain agents may harm those who are not so favoured. We address this issue in the context of a natural experiment from English soccer. We study the effects of professional referees on a common measure of referee bias: length of injury time in close matches. We find that referees exercised a degree of favouritism prior to professionalism but not afterwards, having controlled for selection and soccer‐wide effects. We also discuss the suitability of the variable that we, and others, use to measure favouritism, noting that alternative interpretations may be possible.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:75:y:2008:i:298:p:296-309
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0335.2007.00605.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 545-558, July.
    2. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2001. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 203-232, February.
    3. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Canice Prendergast, 2005. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 208-216, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Zantman, Wilfried, 2002. "Constitutional Design and Regional Favoritism," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(1), pages 71-93.
    6. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    7. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-978, October.
    8. M. Grubb, 2003. "Editorial," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 189-190, September.
    9. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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