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Biases and Strategic Behavior in Performance Evaluation: The Case of the FIFA’s Best Soccer Player Award

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Abstract

In this paper, we study biases in performance evaluation by analyzing votes for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for best soccer player, the most prestigious award in the sport. We find that ‘similarity’ biases are substantial, with jury members disproportionately voting for candidates from their own country, own national team, own continent, and own league team. Further, we show that the impact of these biases on the total number of votes a candidate receives is fairly limited and hence is likely to affect the outcome of this competition only on rare occasions where the difference in quality between the leading candidates is small. Finally, analyzing the incidence of ‘strategic voting’, we find jury members who vote for one leading candidate are more, rather than less, likely to also give points to his main competitor, as compared with neutral jury members. We discuss the implications of our findings for the design of awards, elections and performance evaluation systems in general, and for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award in particular.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Coupe & Olivier Gergaud & Abdul Noury, 2016. "Biases and Strategic Behavior in Performance Evaluation: The Case of the FIFA’s Best Soccer Player Award," Working Papers in Economics 16/24, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:16/24
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    File URL: http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/RePEc/cbt/econwp/1624.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Award; Bias; Voting; Soccer;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • Z2 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics

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