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Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher A. Parsons
  • Johan Sulaeman
  • Michael C. Yates
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Abstract

We explore umpires' racial/ethnic preferences in the evaluation of Major League Baseball pitchers. Controlling for umpire, pitcher, batter and catcher fixed effects and many other factors, strikes are more likely to be called if the umpire and pitcher match race/ethnicity. This effect only exists where there is little scrutiny of umpires' behavior -- in ballparks without computerized systems monitoring umpires' calls, at poorly attended games, and when the called pitch cannot determine the outcome of the at-bat. If a pitcher shares the home-plate umpire's race/ethnicity, he gives up fewer runs per game and improves his team's chance of winning. The results suggest that standard measures of salary discrimination that adjust for measured productivity may generally be flawed. We derive the magnitude of the bias generally and apply it to several examples.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher A. Parsons & Johan Sulaeman & Michael C. Yates & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2007. "Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 13665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13665
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887.
    2. Stephen Donald & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2004. "What is Discrimination? Gender in the American Economic Association," NBER Working Papers 10684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Anthony C. Krautmann & Elizabeth Gustafson & Lawrence Hadley, 2003. "A Note on the Structural Stability of Salary Equations," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 4(1), pages 56-63, February.
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    5. Michael A. Stoll & Steven Raphael & Harry J. Holzer, 2004. "Black Job Applicants and the Hiring Officer's Race," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(2), pages 267-287, January.
    6. Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Nationalism in Winter Sports Judging and Its Lessons for Organizational Decision Making," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 67-99, March.
    7. Clark Nardinelli & Curtis Simon, 1990. "Customer Racial Discrimination in the Market for Memorabilia: The Case of Baseball," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 575-595.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bagues, Manuel & Perez-Villadoniga, Maria J., 2012. "Do recruiters prefer applicants with similar skills? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 12-20.
    2. Boeri, Tito & Severgnini, Battista, 2011. "Match rigging and the career concerns of referees," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 349-359, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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