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Causal effects of an absent crowd on performances and refereeing decisions during Covid-19

Author

Listed:
  • Alex Bryson

    () (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education)

  • Peter Dolton

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sussex)

  • J. James Reade

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Dominik Schreyer

    () (Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung (WHU))

  • Carl Singleton

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic has induced worldwide natural experiments on the effects of crowds. We exploit one of these experiments that took place over several countries in almost identical settings: professional football matches played behind closed doors within the 2019/20 league seasons. We find large and statistically significant effects on the number of yellow cards issued by referees. Without a crowd, fewer cards were awarded to the away teams, reducing home advantage. These results have implications for the influence of social pressure and crowds on the neutrality of decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Bryson & Peter Dolton & J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Causal effects of an absent crowd on performances and refereeing decisions during Covid-19," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-18, Department of Economics, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2020-18
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    File URL: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/economics/emdp202018.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Endrich, Marek & Gesche, Tobias, 2020. "Home-bias in referee decisions: Evidence from “Ghost Matches” during the Covid19-Pandemic," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 197(C).
    2. 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.
    3. Per Pettersson-Lidbom & Mikael Priks, 2007. "Behavior under Social Pressure: Empty Italian Stadiums and Referee Bias," CESifo Working Paper Series 1960, CESifo.
    4. Bryson, Alex & Dolton, Peter & Reade, J. James & Schreyer, Dominik & Singleton, Carl, 2020. "Experimental Effects of an Absent Crowd on Performances and Refereeing Decisions during COVID-19," IZA Discussion Papers 13578, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Echoes: what happens when football is played behind closed doors?," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-14, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    6. 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.
    7. Fischer, Kai & Haucap, Justus, 2020. "Does crowd support drive the home advantage in professional soccer? Evidence from German ghost games during the COVID-19 pandemic," DICE Discussion Papers 344, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    8. Collins, Alan & McKenzie, Jordi & Vaughan Williams, Leighton, 2019. "When is a talent contest not a talent contest? Sequential performance bias in expert evaluation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 94-98.
    9. Alex Bryson & Peter Dolton & J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Causal effects of an absent crowd on performances and refereeing decisions during Covid-19," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-18, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    10. Dilger, Alexander & Vischer, Lars, 2020. "No home bias in ghost games [Kein Heimspielvorteil bei Geisterspielen]," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 7/2020, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
    11. 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.
    12. 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).
    13. Babatunde Buraimo & David Forrest & Robert Simmons, 2010. "The 12th man?: refereeing bias in English and German soccer," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 173(2), pages 431-449, April.
    14. Vincenzo Scoppa, 2020. "Social Pressure In The Stadiums: Do Agents Change Behavior Without Crowd Support?," Working Papers 202006, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    15. Gary Charness & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "Groups Make Better Self-Interested Decisions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 157-176, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kai Fischer & Justus Haucap, 2020. "Betting Market Efficiency in the Presence of Unfamiliar Shocks: The Case of Ghost Games during the Covid-19 Pandemic," CESifo Working Paper Series 8526, CESifo.
    2. Alex Bryson & Peter Dolton & J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Causal effects of an absent crowd on performances and refereeing decisions during Covid-19," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-18, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    3. J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Eliminating supportive crowds reduces referee bias," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-25, Department of Economics, Reading University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Attendance; Coronavirus; Covid-19; Home advantage; Natural Experiments; Referee Bias; Social Pressure;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • Z20 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - General

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