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Favouritism and Financial Incentives: A Natural Experiment




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. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2007.

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  • 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

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Zantman, Wilfried, 2002. " Constitutional Design and Regional Favoritism," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(1), pages 71-93.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    6. M. Grubb, 2003. "Editorial," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 189-190, September.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-978, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:lan:wpaper:3946 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Barry Reilly & Robert Witt, 2016. "Disciplinary Sanction and Social Pressure in English Premiership Soccer," Working Paper Series 08816, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    5. Christian Deutscher & Eugen Dimant & Brad R. Humphreys, 2017. "Match Fixing and Sports Betting in Football: Empirical Evidence from the German Bundesliga," Working Papers 17-01, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    6. repec:lan:wpaper:3661 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Dawson, Peter & Dobson, Stephen, 2010. "The influence of social pressure and nationality on individual decisions: Evidence from the behaviour of referees," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 181-191, April.
    8. Juan Mendoza & Andrés Rosas, 2013. "Referee Bias in Professional Soccer: Evidence from Colombia," VNIVERSITAS ECONÓMICA 011059, UNIVERSIDAD JAVERIANA - BOGOTÁ.
    9. Andrews, Matt & Harrington, Peter, 2016. "Off Pitch: Football's Financial Integrity Weaknesses, and How to Strengthen Them," Working Paper Series 16-009, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    10. 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.
    11. Francesc Trillas Jané, 2016. "Behavioral Regulatory Agencies," Working Papers wpdea1606, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    12. Bryson, Alex & Buraimo, Babatunde & Simmons, Rob, 2011. "Do salaries improve worker performance?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 424-433, August.
    13. Dey, Oindrila & Banerjee, Swapnendu, 2015. "Endogenous favouritism with status incentives: A model of optimum inefficiency," MPRA Paper 62828, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Thomas Dohmen & Jan Sauermann, 2016. "Referee Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 679-695, September.
    15. Peter Dawson, 2014. "Refereeing and infringement of the rules," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 24, pages 401-418 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. 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).
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Barry Reilly & Robert Witt, 2016. "Disciplinary Sanction and Social Pressure in English Premiership Soccer," Working Paper Series 8816, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    20. Dey, Oindrila & Banerjee, Swapnendu, 2013. "Status, incentives and random favouritism," MPRA Paper 49188, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. 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.

    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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