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The Role of Referees in Professional Sports Contests

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  • Cedric Duvinage
  • Peter-J. Jost

Abstract

This article models the role of a referee in a contest, in which players can invest into both productive and sabotage effort. The model shows that (1) a referee significantly influences the equilibrium strategies of the contestants, (2) whether or not the referee improves the quality of a contest depends on his refereeing performance and the marginal penalty awardable subject to the rules of the game, (3) the value of the referee is independent of asymmetries between players, as long as the asymmetric attribute does not affect the referee’s errors, (4) corrupt referees pose a serious economic threat to the sports industry, and (5) a referee reduces the competitive imbalance between the contestants in an asymmetric contest.

Suggested Citation

  • Cedric Duvinage & Peter-J. Jost, 2019. "The Role of Referees in Professional Sports Contests," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 20(8), pages 1014-1050, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:20:y:2019:i:8:p:1014-1050
    DOI: 10.1177/1527002519851145
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