Punishing the Foreigner: Implicit Discrimination in the Premier League Based on Oppositional Identity

21 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2012

See all articles by Edoardo Gallo

Edoardo Gallo

University of Cambridge

Thomas Grund

ETH Zürich

J. James Reade

University of Reading, Department of Economics

Date Written: February 2013

Abstract

We present the first empirical study to reveal the presence of implicit discrimination in a non‐experimental setting. By using a large dataset of in‐match data in the English Premier League, we show that white referees award significantly more yellow cards against non‐white players of oppositional identity. We argue that this is the result of implicit discrimination by showing that this discriminatory behaviour: (i) increases in how rushed the referee is before making a decision, and (ii) it increases in the level of ambiguity of the decision. The variation in (i) and (ii) cannot be explained by any form of conscious discrimination such as taste‐based or statistical discrimination. Moreover, we show that oppositional identity players do not differ in their behaviour from other players along several dimensions related to aggressiveness and style of play providing further evidence that this is not statistical discrimination.

JEL Classification: L83, J71

Suggested Citation

Gallo, Edoardo and Grund, Thomas and Reade, J. James, Punishing the Foreigner: Implicit Discrimination in the Premier League Based on Oppositional Identity (February 2013). Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 75, Issue 1, pp. 136-156, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2193209 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0084.2012.00725.x

Edoardo Gallo

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

Thomas Grund

ETH Zürich

CER-ETH Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich
ZUE F7
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

J. James Reade

University of Reading, Department of Economics ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

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