Biased Impartiality Among National Hockey League Referees
35 Pages Posted: 4 May 2013
Date Written: May 2, 2013
This paper builds an economic model of referee behavior in the National Hockey League using period-specific in-game data. Recognizing that referees are influenced by a desire for perceived fairness, this model isolates situations where a referee is more likely to call a penalty on one team. While prior research has focused on a systematic bias in favor of the home team, we find that referee bias is also dependent upon game specific conditions that incentivize an evening of penalty calls. Refereeing games in this fashion maintains the integrity of the game, thus benefiting spectator perceptions and opportunities for financial returns.
Keywords: NHL, referees, biased impartiality, make-up calls
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation