nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2019‒03‒18
four papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. Social Pressure or Rational Reactions to Incentives? A Historical Analysis of Reasons for Referee Bias in the Spanish Football By Tena Horrillo, Juan de Dios; Reade, J. James; Cabras, Stefano
  2. The Flutie Effect: The Influence of College Football Upsets and National Championships on the Quantity and Quality of Students at a University By Austin F. Eggers; Peter A. Groothuis; Parker T. Redding
  3. The shape of luck and competition in tournaments By Mikhail Drugov; Dmitry Ryvkin
  4. ‘Born this Way’? Prenatal Exposure to Testosterone May Determine Behavior in Competition and Conflict By Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Chowdhury, Subhasish; Espín, Antonio M.; Nieboer, Jeroen

  1. By: Tena Horrillo, Juan de Dios; Reade, J. James; Cabras, Stefano
    Abstract: A relevant question in social science is whether cognitive bias can be instigated by social pressure or is it just a rational reaction to incentives in place. Sport, and association football in particular, offers settings in which to gain insights into this question. In this paper we estimate the determinants of the length of time between referee appointments in Spanish soccer as a function of referee decisions in favour of the home and away team in the most recent match by means of a deep-learning model. This approach allows us to capture all interactions among a high-dimensional set of variables without the necessity of specifying them beforehand. Furthermore, deep-learning models are nowadays the state of the art among the predicting models which are needed and here used for estimating effects of a cause. We do not find strong evidence of an incentive scheme that counteracts well-known home referee biases. Our results also suggest that referees are incentivised to deliver a moderate amount of surprise in the outcome of the game what is consistent with the objective function of consumers and tournament organisers.
    Keywords: Sport; Social pressure; Referee bias; Deep-learning model; Causal analysis
    Date: 2019–03
  2. By: Austin F. Eggers; Peter A. Groothuis; Parker T. Redding
    Abstract: Using a panel study of universities, we find a positive correlation between winning either an upset victory or a national championship in football and the number of applications and students enrolling at the successful university. Surprisingly, we also find that winning a national championship decreases the number of top tier students who choose to attend the university, while there is no statistically significant relationship between an upset win and the quality of incoming students at a school. Overall, our results suggest that athletics serve as a consumption amenity, leading students to apply and enroll at the victorious university. Key Words: NCAA, Division I Football, Upsets, Championships
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Mikhail Drugov (New Economic School and CEPR); Dmitry Ryvkin (Department of Economics, Florida State University)
    Abstract: Tournaments are settings where agents' performance is determined jointly by effort and luck, and top performers are rewarded. We study the impact of the \shape of luck" { the details of the distribution of performance shocks { on incentives in tournaments. The focus is on the effect of competition, defined as the number of rivals an agent faces, which can be deterministic or stochastic. We show that individual and aggregate effort in tournaments are affected by an increase in competition in ways that depend critically on the shape of the density and failure (hazard) rate of shocks. When shocks have heavy tails, aggregate effort can decrease with stronger competition.
    Keywords: tournament, competition, heavy tails, stochastic number of players, unimodality, log-supermodularity, failure rate
    JEL: C72 D72 D82
    Date: 2019–01
  4. By: Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Chowdhury, Subhasish; Espín, Antonio M.; Nieboer, Jeroen
    Abstract: It is documented that fetal exposure to sexual hormones has long lasting effects on human behavior. The second-to-fourth digit ratio (DR) is a putative marker for prenatal exposure to testosterone (compared to estrogens) while in uterus, with higher relative exposure to testosterone resulting in a lower DR. Although the existing literature documents the correlation of DR with various decisions, and testosterone has been related to competitive behaviors, little research has studied the effect of DR on competition in conflict situations where skills do not matter. We investigate this question in the laboratory. Based on a previously obtained large sample of student subjects, we selectively invite subjects to the laboratory if their right-hand DR is in the top (High type) or bottom (Low type) tercile for their gender. Unbeknownst to the subjects, we perform a controlled match of High and Low types as opponents in a 2-person Tullock contest. We find that Low type (higher exposure to testosterone) males expend significantly higher conflict effort than High type males, that is, they are more aggressive, which reduces their opponents’ earnings. Among females, however, everyone is more aggressive against the High type (who respond less aggressively). These results can partially be explained through high joy of winning and/or spitefulness for Low type males, and high spitefulness for Low type females. This investigation sheds light on the importance of biological aspects in the ex-ante determinants of conflict, and on contest design.
    Keywords: Digit Ratio; Contest; Conflict; Gender: Lab Experiments
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2019–03–11

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