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Social Pressure Influences Decisions of Individuals: Evidence from the Behavior of Football Referees

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  • Dohmen, Thomas

    () (University of Bonn and IZA)

Abstract

Analyzing the neutrality of referees during twelve German premier league (1st Bundesliga) football seasons, this paper documents evidence that social forces influence agents' preferences and decisions. Those, who are appointed to be impartial, tend to favor the home team as they systematically award more injury time in close matches when the home team is behind. Referees also tend to favor the home team in decisions to award goals and penalty kicks. The composition of the crowd affects the size and the direction of the bias. The intensity of social pressure as measured by the crowd's proximity to the field determines how strongly referees' decisions are influenced. Not all agents are, however, affected to the same degree by social pressure.

Suggested Citation

  • Dohmen, Thomas, 2005. "Social Pressure Influences Decisions of Individuals: Evidence from the Behavior of Football Referees," IZA Discussion Papers 1595, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1595
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-978, October.
    2. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    3. Mark Duggan & Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Winning Isn't Everything: Corruption in Sumo Wrestling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1594-1605, December.
    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. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
    6. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2003. "The Economics of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 9904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dohmen, Thomas, 2003. "In Support of the Supporters? Do Social Forces Shape Decisions of the Impartial?," IZA Discussion Papers 755, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vincenzo Scoppa, 2008. "Are subjective evaluations biased by social factors or connections? An econometric analysis of soccer referee decisions," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 123-140, August.
    2. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Priks, Mikael, 2010. "Behavior under social pressure: Empty Italian stadiums and referee bias," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 212-214, August.
    3. Dohmen, Thomas J., 2008. "Do professionals choke under pressure?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 636-653, March.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Caliendo, Marco & Radic, Dubravko, 2006. "Ten Do It Better, Do They? An Empirical Analysis of an Old Football Myth," IZA Discussion Papers 2158, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Thomas J. Dohmen, 2008. "The Influence Of Social Forces: Evidence From The Behavior Of Football Referees," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(3), pages 411-424, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    principal-agent relationship; favoritism; personnel economics;

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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