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Racial Discrimination in English Football

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  • Preston, Ian
  • Szymanski, Stefan

Abstract

This paper examines data on the racial composition and financial and sporting performance of professional English soccer teams between 1974 and 1993. In an earlier paper, Szymanski showed that teams with an above average proportion of black players would tend to perform better on average that would have been expected given the aggregate wage bills of these clubs. Since players are more or less freely traded in soccer this presents strong market-based evidence of discrimination. In the present paper we explore the source of such discrimination. In particular we are concerned to test the hypothesis that discrimination is attributable to the fans rather than the owners. If fans were racially prejudiced then the owners of a team might expect to generate a smaller marginal revenue product from a black player compared to an equally skilled white player. We assess the presence of fan discrimination by examining relationships between attendance, revenues, performance and the proportion of black players in the team. We also incorporate evidence regarding statements of racial prejudice (from the British Social Attitudes Survey) in particular regions. We find little evidence that the discrimination against black players has its source in fan discrimination. Copyright 2000 by Scottish Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Preston, Ian & Szymanski, Stefan, 2000. "Racial Discrimination in English Football," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(4), pages 342-363, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:47:y:2000:i:4:p:342-63
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    Citations

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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. Maarten Vendrik & Christiane Schwieren, 2010. "Identification, screening and stereotyping in labour market discrimination," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 141-171, March.
    3. Barry Reilly, 2014. "Labour market discrimination," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 15, pages 238-258 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Benno Torgler, 2004. "The Determinants of Women?s International Soccer Performances," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-19, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio & Francesc Pujol, 2009. "The Rationality of Under-employing the Best-performing Soccer Players," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(3), pages 397-419, September.
    6. Depken II, Craig A. & Ford, Jon M., 2006. "Customer-based discrimination against major league baseball players: Additional evidence from All-star ballots," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1061-1077, December.
    7. Benno Torgler, 2004. "?La Grande Boucle?: Determinants of Success at the Tour de France," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-22, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA), revised May 2005.
    8. John Goddard & Peter Sloane (ed.), 2014. "Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14821, April.
    9. Dennis Wilson & Yung-Hsiang Ying, 2003. "Nationality preferences for labour in the international football industry," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(14), pages 1551-1559.
    10. 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.
    11. J. James Reade & Sachiko Akie, 2013. "Using Forecasting to Detect Corruption in International Football," Working Papers 2013-005, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    12. James Reade, 2014. "Detecting corruption in football," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 25, pages 419-446 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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