When the Stadium Goes Silent: How Crowds Affect the Performance of Discriminated Groups
DEM Working Papers N. 2021/1
28 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2021
Date Written: June 1, 2021
Using a natural experiment induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, we test how the sudden absence of supporters at football games impacts the performance of players from minority groups in Italy. We find that African players, who are most commonly targeted by racial harassment, experience a significant improvement in performance when supporters are no longer at the stadium. Using data on officially recorded episodes of racist behaviour by fans, we show that performance improves the most among African players in teams that were subject to abuse before the lockdown. We conclude that racial harassment lowers the overall quality of the game.
Keywords: discrimination, harassment, racism, performance, football, COVID-19
JEL Classification: D91, J15, J71, Z22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation