An Empirical Analysis of Judging Bias by Sex, Region & Side
Clifford Chad Henson
Skiermont Puckett LLP; Texas A&M School of Law; Property & Environment Research Center
Paul R. Dorasil
University of Florida
July 7, 2011
Conventional wisdom among those involved in competitive academic debate holds that, despite an emphasis on objective decision-making, factors other than skill affect the outcomes of rounds. This study examines all debate rounds at the Lincoln Douglas Debate Tournament of Champions from 2004-2009. We estimate predictions of round outcomes based on transitivity and the outcomes of other rounds observed in the tournament in order to evaluate the potential for bias and control for the relative skill of debaters. We develop a binomial choice model to estimate the marginal effects of various biases. In particular, we find statistical evidence of bias related to regional affiliation and topic side. These factors may explain the significant number of non-transitive outcomes in the data. Finally, we suggest some policy remedies to mitigate the impact of biases and further applications of our methodology.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: debate, discrimination, bias, sex, judging, education
JEL Classification: I21, J16, J71, L83
Date posted: February 25, 2011 ; Last revised: July 9, 2011
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