Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination
Christopher A. Parsons
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management
National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Finance
University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of Busiiness
Daniel S. Hamermesh
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
IZA Discussion Paper No. 3899
We explore how umpires' racial/ethnic preferences are expressed in their evaluation of Major League Baseball pitchers. Controlling for umpire, pitcher, batter and catcher fixed effects and many other factors, strikes are more likely to be called if the umpire and pitcher match race/ethnicity. This effect only exists where there is little scrutiny of umpires' behavior - in ballparks without computerized systems monitoring umpires' calls, at poorly attended games, and when the called pitch cannot determine the outcome of the at-bat. If a pitcher shares the home-plate umpire's race/ethnicity, he gives up fewer hits, strikes out more batters, and improves his team's chance of winning. The general implication is that standard measures of salary discrimination that adjust for measured productivity may be flawed. We derive the magnitude of the bias generally and apply it to several examples.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Keywords: strategic interactions, worker evaluation, wage equations, economics of sports
JEL Classification: J44, J71
Date posted: December 22, 2008
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