Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination

46 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2008  

Christopher A. Parsons

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

Johan Sulaeman

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Finance

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); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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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.

Keywords: strategic interactions, worker evaluation, wage equations, economics of sports

JEL Classification: J44, J71

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1318858

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

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Finance ( email )

Mochtar Riady Building
15 Kent Ridge Drive
Singapore, 119245
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/johansulaeman/

Michael Yates

University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of Busiiness ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Daniel S. Hamermesh

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8526 (Phone)
512-471-3510 (Fax)

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