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The Iron Curtain and Referee Bias in International Football

Author

Listed:
  • Dmitry Dagaev

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Sofia Paklina

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • J. James Reade

    (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Carl Singleton

    (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

Abstract

Using the assignment of referees to European international association football matches played between 2002 and 2016, we ask whether judgements were biased according to the legacy of the Cold War. Referees from post-communist states favoured teams from non-communist states, but there was no evidence of favouritism in the other direction. The out-group bias of referees born behind the Iron Curtain was more significant for less important decisions (e.g., yellow cards vs red cards). The bias was particularly large among referees from the former Soviet Union. It has also diminished over time, perhaps due to increased professionalism in European refereeing, or because memories of the Cold War era have diminished among active referees.

Suggested Citation

  • Dmitry Dagaev & Sofia Paklina & J. James Reade & Carl Singleton, 2021. "The Iron Curtain and Referee Bias in International Football," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2021-14, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2021-14
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    File URL: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/economics/emdp202114.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    home advantage; social pressure; international relations; sports economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • Z20 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - General

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