Referee Bias

32 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2015

See all articles by Thomas J. Dohmen

Thomas J. Dohmen

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Maastricht University - Business Investment Research Center (BIRC)

Jan Sauermann

SOFI, Stockholm University; IZA; Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA)

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Abstract

This paper surveys the empirical literature on the behavior of referees in professional football and other sports. Referees are typically appointed by a principal to be impartial, especially when unbiased referee judgment is vital for the accomplishment of the principal's objective. Answering whether referees make biased decisions and understanding the causes that lead referees to digress from their principal duty of impartiality is therefore fundamental from a theoretical point of view. At the same time, assessing the prevalence and origin of referee bias is germane to various domains of life. Referee bias is particularly relevant in sports, where partial decision-making can determine competition outcomes, which can have strong repercussions on athletes' careers and supporters' well-being.

Keywords: favoritism, referee bias, social pressure

JEL Classification: D8, L83

Suggested Citation

Dohmen, Thomas and Sauermann, Jan, Referee Bias. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8857. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2575037

Thomas Dohmen (Contact Author)

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

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

Maastricht University - Business Investment Research Center (BIRC) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands
+31-43-388 3832 (Phone)
+31-43-388 4856 (Fax)

Jan Sauermann

SOFI, Stockholm University ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

IZA ( email )

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

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht MD6200
Netherlands

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