Sub-Perfect Game: Profitable Biases of NBA Referees

Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 21(1), 2012, p.271–300

34 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2009 Last revised: 18 Jul 2014

See all articles by Joseph Price

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University

Marc Remer

Johns Hopkins University

Daniel F. Stone

Bowdoin College - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 1, 2009

Abstract

This paper empirically investigates three hypotheses regarding biases of National Basketball Association (NBA) referees. Identification of basketball referee bias is typically difficult as changes in observed statistics may be caused by either changes in referee bias or player behavior. We identify bias by exploiting the fact that referees have varying degrees of discretion over different types of a particular statistic - turnovers. This allows us to conduct a treatment and control-style analysis, using the less discretionary turnovers as the player behavior control. The results provide evidence that referees favor home teams, teams losing during games, and teams losing in playoff series. All three biases are likely to increase consumer demand.

Keywords: Forensic Economics, Referee Bias, National Basketball Association (NBA), Home Bias, Social Pressure

JEL Classification: K42, L12, L83

Suggested Citation

Price, Joseph and Remer, Marc and Stone, Daniel F., Sub-Perfect Game: Profitable Biases of NBA Referees (April 1, 2009). Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 21(1), 2012, p.271–300. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1377964

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University ( email )

130 FOB
Provo, NY 84604
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/jpp34/

Marc Remer

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

Daniel F. Stone (Contact Author)

Bowdoin College - Department of Economics ( email )

Brunswick, ME 04011
United States
6463387833 (Phone)

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