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Punishing the Foreigner: Implicit Discrimination in the Premier League Based on Oppositional Identity

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  • Edoardo Gallo
  • Thomas Grund
  • J. James Reade

Abstract

We present the first empirical study to reveal the presence of implicit discrimination in a non-experimental setting. By using a large dataset of in-match data in the English Premier League, we show that white referees award significantly more yellow cards against non-white players of oppositional identity. We argue that this is the result of implicit discrimination by showing that this discriminatory behaviour (i) increases in how rushed the referee is before making a decision, and (ii) it increases in the level of ambiguity of the decision. The variation in (i) and (ii) cannot be explained by any form of conscious discrimination such as taste-based or statistical discrimination. Moreover, we show that oppositional identity players do not differ in their behaviour from other players along several dimensions related to aggressiveness and style of play providing further evidence that this is not statistical discrimination.
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Suggested Citation

  • Edoardo Gallo & Thomas Grund & J. James Reade, 2013. "Punishing the Foreigner: Implicit Discrimination in the Premier League Based on Oppositional Identity," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(1), pages 136-156, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:75:y:2013:i:1:p:136-156
    DOI: j.1468-0084.2012.00725.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bodvarsson, Orn B & Brastow, Raymond T, 1998. "Do Employers Pay for Consistent Performance?: Evidence from the NBA," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 145-160, January.
    2. Barry Reilly & Robert Witt, 1995. "English league transfer prices: is there a racial dimension?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(7), pages 220-222.
    3. N/A, 2010. "Referees," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(2), pages 261-262, March.
    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. 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.
    6. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887.
    7. 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.
    8. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Implicit Discrimination in Hiring: Real World Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2764, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Lawrence M. Kahn, 1991. "Discrimination in Professional Sports: A Survey of the Literature," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(3), pages 395-418, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark, 2016. "Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hlasny, V. & Kolaric, S., 2015. "Catch Me If You Can - Referee–Team Relationships and Disciplinary Cautions in Football," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 74994, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
    3. 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.
    4. James Reade, 2014. "Detecting corruption in football," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 25, pages 419-446 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. 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.
    6. Barry Reilly, 2014. "Labour market discrimination," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 15, pages 238-258 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. John Goddard & Peter Sloane (ed.), 2014. "Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14821.
    8. Jeffrey Chu & Saralees Nadarajah & Emmanuel Afuecheta & Stephen Chan & Ying Xu, 2014. "A statistical study of racism in English football," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(5), pages 2915-2937, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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