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Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination


Christopher A. Parsons


University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Johan Sulaeman


Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Edwin L. Cox School of Business

Michael Yates


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

Abstract:     
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

working papers series


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Date posted: December 22, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Parsons, Christopher A. and Sulaeman, Johan and Yates, Michael and Hamermesh, Daniel S., Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3899. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1318858

Contact Information

Christopher A. Parsons
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States
Johan Sulaeman
Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Edwin L. Cox School of Business ( email )
Dallas, TX 75225
United States
214-768-8284 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://jsulaeman.cox.smu.edu
Michael Yates
University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of Busiiness ( email )
Austin, TX 78712
United States
Daniel S. Hamermesh
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )
Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8526 (Phone)
512-471-3510 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
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