IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/15819.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Are Subjective Evaluations Biased by Social Factors or Connections? An Econometric Analysis of Soccer Referee Decisions

Author

Listed:
  • Scoppa, Vincenzo

Abstract

Many incentive contracts are based on subjective evaluations and contractual disputes depend on judges’ decisions. However, subjective evaluations raise risks of favouritism and distortions. Sport contests are a fruitful field for testing empirically theories of incentives. In this paper the behaviour of the referees in the Italian soccer (football) league (“Serie A”) is analyzed. Using data on injury (or extra) time subjectively assigned by the referee at the end of the match and controlling for factors which may influence it (players substitutions, yellow and red cards, penalty kicks, etc.), we show that referees are biased in favour of home team, in that injury time is significantly greater if home teams are losing. The refereeing bias increases greatly when there is no running track in the stadium and the crowd is close to the pitch. Following the 2006 “Serie A” scandal we test whether favouritism emerges towards teams suspected of connections with referees finding that these teams obtain favourable decisions. Social pressure by the crowd attending the match however appears to be the main cause of favouritism.

Suggested Citation

  • Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2008. "Are Subjective Evaluations Biased by Social Factors or Connections? An Econometric Analysis of Soccer Referee Decisions," MPRA Paper 15819, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15819
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/15819/1/MPRA_paper_15819.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2004. "Favoritism of agents - The case of referees' home bias," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 461-469, August.
    2. Milgrom, Paul R, 1988. "Employment Contracts, Influence Activities, and Efficient Organization Design," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 42-60, February.
    3. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    4. Ichino, Andrea & Polo, Michele & Rettore, Enrico, 2003. "Are judges biased by labor market conditions?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 913-944, October.
    5. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-978, October.
    6. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
    7. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    8. 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.
    9. P.-A. Chiappori, 2002. "Testing Mixed-Strategy Equilibria When Players Are Heterogeneous: The Case of Penalty Kicks in Soccer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1138-1151, September.
    10. Stefan Szymanski, 2010. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: The Comparative Economics of Sport, chapter 1, pages 1-78, Palgrave Macmillan.
    11. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-1324, December.
    12. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Dohmen, Thomas, 2005. "Social Pressure Influences Decisions of Individuals: Evidence from the Behavior of Football Referees," IZA Discussion Papers 1595, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. 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.
    2. Robin, Stéphane & Rusinowska, Agnieszka & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2014. "Ingratiation: Experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 16-38.
    3. Thomas Dohmen & Jan Sauermann, 2016. "Referee Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 679-695, September.
    4. Agnieszka Rusinowska & Vassili Vergopoulos, 2016. "Ingratiation and Favoritism in Organizations," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 16010, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    5. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2373-2437 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bar-Eli, Michael & Krumer, Alex & Morgulev, Elia, 2020. "Ask not what economics can do for sports - Ask what sports can do for economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    7. 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.
    8. Dohmen, Thomas J., 2008. "Do professionals choke under pressure?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 636-653, March.
    9. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2004. "Favoritism of agents - The case of referees' home bias," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 461-469, August.
    10. V. Bhaskar, 2004. "Rational Adversaries? Evidence from Randomized Trials in the Game of Cricket," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000163, David K. Levine.
    11. Dohmen, Thomas, 2005. "Social Pressure Influences Decisions of Individuals: Evidence from the Behavior of Football Referees," IZA Discussion Papers 1595, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Garicano, Luis & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2005. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Making the Beautiful Game a Bit Less Beautiful," CEPR Discussion Papers 5231, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Jungmin Lee, 2008. "Outlier Aversion in Subjective Evaluation," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 9(2), pages 141-159, April.
    14. Björn Bartling & Leif Brandes & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "Expectations as reference points: field evidence from experienced subjects in a competitive, high-stakes environment," ECON - Working Papers 073, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    15. Neil Rickman & Robert Witt, 2008. "Favouritism and Financial Incentives: A Natural Experiment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(298), pages 296-309, May.
    16. Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2021. "Social pressure in the stadiums: Do agents change behavior without crowd support?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Klaassen, Franc J.G.M. & Magnus, Jan R., 2009. "The efficiency of top agents: An analysis through service strategy in tennis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 72-85, January.
    20. Barry Reilly & Robert Witt, 2013. "Red cards, referee home bias and social pressure: evidence from English Premiership Soccer," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(7), pages 710-714, May.
    21. Fornwagner, Helena, 2019. "Incentives to lose revisited: The NHL and its tournament incentives," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 75(PB).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Favoritism; Subjective evaluation; Sport economics; Soccer; Referee bias;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15819. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Joachim Winter (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.