Social Pressure Influences Decisions of Individuals: Evidence from the Behavior of Football Referees

44 Pages Posted: 19 May 2005

See all articles by Thomas J. Dohmen

Thomas J. Dohmen

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

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

Analyzing the neutrality of referees during twelve German premier league (1st Bundesliga) football seasons, this paper documents evidence that social forces influence agents' preferences and decisions. Those, who are appointed to be impartial, tend to favor the home team as they systematically award more injury time in close matches when the home team is behind. Referees also tend to favor the home team in decisions to award goals and penalty kicks. The composition of the crowd affects the size and the direction of the bias. The intensity of social pressure as measured by the crowd's proximity to the field determines how strongly referees' decisions are influenced. Not all agents are, however, affected to the same degree by social pressure.

Keywords: favoritism, principal-agent relationship, personnel economics

JEL Classification: J00, M50

Suggested Citation

Dohmen, Thomas, Social Pressure Influences Decisions of Individuals: Evidence from the Behavior of Football Referees (May 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1595. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=725541

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)

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