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Animal Spirits in the Beautiful Game. Testing social pressure in professional football during the COVID-19 lockdown

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  • Cueva, Carlos

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic forced almost all professional football matches worlwide to be played in empty stadiums. This large-scale natural experiment offers a unique opportunity to assess the impact of social pressure on decision making and behavior. In particular, I investigate the effect of the home crowd on match outcomes and referee decisions. Using a large dataset from 41 professional football leagues in 30 different countries, I find that the home advantage in match outcomes drops by around one half and that referee bias against away teams completely disappears following the lockdowns. My results therefore suggest that social pressure exerted by home crowds has an important effect on the behavior of referees and on game outcomes.

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  • Cueva, Carlos, 2020. "Animal Spirits in the Beautiful Game. Testing social pressure in professional football during the COVID-19 lockdown," OSF Preprints hczkj, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:osfxxx:hczkj
    DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/hczkj
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    Cited by:

    1. Colella, F. & Dalton, Patricio & Giusti, G., 2021. "All you Need is Love : The Effect of Moral Support on Performance (Revision of CentER DP 2018-026)," Discussion Paper 2021-005, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    2. Federico Fioravanti & Fernando Delbianco & Fernando Tohm'e, 2021. "Home advantage and crowd attendance: Evidence from rugby during the Covid 19 pandemic," Papers 2105.01446, arXiv.org.
    3. J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Eliminating supportive crowds reduces referee bias," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-25, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    4. Bryson, Alex & Dolton, Peter & Reade, J. James & Schreyer, Dominik & Singleton, Carl, 2021. "Causal effects of an absent crowd on performances and refereeing decisions during Covid-19," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 198(C).

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