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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:

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    3. Mauro Caselli & Paolo Falco, 2021. "When the Mob Goes Silent: Uncovering the Effects of Racial Harassment through a Natural Experiment," DEM Working Papers 2021/01, Department of Economics and Management.
    4. Christoph Buehren & Dominic Jung, 2022. "Performing without pressure? The effect of ghost games on effort- and skill-based tasks in the football Bundesliga," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202227, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    5. Sergio Destefanis & Francesco Addesa & Giambattista Rossi, 2022. "The impact of COVID-19 on home advantage: a conditional order-m analysis of football clubs’ efficiency in the top-5 European leagues," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(58), pages 6639-6655, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2021. "Social pressure in the stadiums: Do agents change behavior without crowd support?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    8. Luke S. Benz & Michael J. Lopez, 2023. "Estimating the change in soccer’s home advantage during the Covid-19 pandemic using bivariate Poisson regression," AStA Advances in Statistical Analysis, Springer;German Statistical Society, vol. 107(1), pages 205-232, March.
    9. Delbianco Fernando & Fioravanti Federico & Tohmé Fernando, 2023. "Home advantage and crowd attendance: evidence from rugby during the Covid 19 pandemic," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 19(1), pages 15-26, March.
    10. J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2022. "Eliminating supportive crowds reduces referee bias," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 60(3), pages 1416-1436, July.
    11. Kai Fischer & Justus Haucap, 2021. "Does Crowd Support Drive the Home Advantage in Professional Football? Evidence from German Ghost Games during the COVID-19 Pandemic," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 22(8), pages 982-1008, December.
    12. J. James Reade, 2023. "Large Sporting Events and Public Health and Safety," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2023-04, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    13. ARAKI Shota & MORITA Hiroshi, 2021. "Social Pressure in Football Matches: An Event Study of "Remote Matches" in Japan," Discussion papers 21095, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. 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).
    15. Michael Christian Leitner & Frank Daumann & Florian Follert & Fabio Richlan, 2023. "The cauldron has cooled down: a systematic literature review on home advantage in football during the COVID-19 pandemic from a socio-economic and psychological perspective," Management Review Quarterly, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 605-633, June.
    16. Carl Singleton & J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer, 2023. "A decade of violence and empty stadiums in Egypt: when does emotion from the terraces affect behaviour on the pitch?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 1487-1507, September.
    17. Dubois, Marc, 2022. "Dominance criteria on grids for measuring competitive balance in sports leagues," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 1-10.
    18. David Winkelmann & Christian Deutscher & Marius Ötting, 2021. "Bookmakers’ mispricing of the disappeared home advantage in the German Bundesliga after the COVID-19 break," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(26), pages 3054-3064, June.
    19. Brad R. Humphreys & Alexander Marsella & Levi Perez, 2022. "The effect of monitoring and crowds on crime and law enforcement: A natural experiment from European football," Working Papers 22-08, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    20. Wen‐Jhan Jane, 2022. "Choking or excelling under pressure: Evidence of the causal effect of audience size on performance," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(1), pages 329-357, January.

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