Video Assistant Referee and Home Field Advantage: Implications for Referee Bias

49 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2022 Last revised: 5 Mar 2024

See all articles by Camilo Abbate

Camilo Abbate

UCSB

Jeffrey Cross

Hamilton College - Economics Department

Richard Uhrig

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Date Written: December 6, 2022

Abstract

Previous research has highlighted referee bias as a potential contributor to home field
advantage in soccer. In order to shed light on the importance of referee bias, we
exploit the staggered implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) using data
from the top domestic league in 16 countries between 2009 and 2019 to estimate the
effect of objective review systems on home field advantage in soccer. Surprisingly, the
implementation of VAR had negligible effects on home field advantage and various
crucial match statistics despite decreased total offsides and yellow cards. These results
provide suggestive evidence regarding the mechanisms through which referee bias might
contribute to home field advantage and highlight how scope may limit the effectiveness
of review processes in general.

Keywords: soccer, home field advantage, referee bias, social pressure, review systems

JEL Classification: Z2, L83, D91

Suggested Citation

Abbate, Camilo and Cross, Jeffrey and Uhrig, Richard, Video Assistant Referee and Home Field Advantage: Implications for Referee Bias (December 6, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4295203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4295203

Camilo Abbate

UCSB ( email )

United States

Jeffrey Cross

Hamilton College - Economics Department ( email )

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
United States

Richard Uhrig (Contact Author)

Bureau of Labor Statistics ( email )

2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20212
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/richarduhrig

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