nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2021‒01‒04
three papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. Causal effects of an absent crowd on performances and refereeing decisions during Covid-19 By Alex Bryson; Peter Dolton; J. James Reade; Dominik Schreyer; Carl Singleton
  2. Gender, Age, and Attitude toward Competition By Nicolas EBER; Abel FRANCOIS; Laurent WEILL
  3. Financing Talent Development: The Baseball Reserve System and the Hollywood Star System By Thomas J. Miceli

  1. By: Alex Bryson; Peter Dolton; J. James Reade; Dominik Schreyer; Carl Singleton
    Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has induced worldwide natural experiments on the effects of crowds. We exploit one of these experiments that took place over several countries in almost identical settings: professional football matches played behind closed doors within the 2019/20 league seasons. We find large and statistically significant effects on the number of yellow cards issued by referees. Without a crowd, fewer cards were awarded to the away teams, reducing home advantage. These results have implications for the influence of social pressure and crowds on the neutrality of decisions.
    Keywords: Attendance, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Home advantage, Natural Experiments, Referee Bias, Social Pressure
    JEL: C90 D91 L83 Z20
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Nicolas EBER (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg); Abel FRANCOIS (LEM, Université de Lille); Laurent WEILL (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg)
    Abstract: A large body of literature has shown the existence of a gender gap in competitiveness and a handful of experimental works investigating the impact of age on this gap lead to inconclusive results. We propose an empirical investigation on that, which is based on survey data and complementary to experimentation. Using individual data from very large survey (European Value Study on 48 countries from 1990 to 2008), we examine how age influences the gender gap in attitude toward competition. After confirming the existence of a strongly significant gender gap, we find evidence of a gendered effect of age on attitude toward competition. Attitude toward competition has a U-shaped relation with age for men with a least-negative view around 53 years but becomes more and more positive over age for women. We therefore observe a U-shaped pattern of the gender gap with age with a minimum around 60 years. Finally, we show that the gender gap and its evolution with age are sensitive to both individual and national gender stereotypes, suggesting influences of cultural factors.
    Keywords: gender; competitiveness; attitude toward competition; age; gender gap.
    JEL: J16
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Thomas J. Miceli (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: This paper examines contractual arrangements that once governed employment relationships in two prominent entertainment industries: professional baseball and Hollywood filmmaking. The arrangements were, respectively, the player reserve system and the star system. Both were defended as necessary by the governing powers of each industry, but both were also criticized as exploitive of employees because they prevented them from negotiating as free agents with other possible employers. The argument in this paper is that these systems can be interpreted as having served a rational economic purpose; namely, to promote efficient investment in the development of would-be performers in professions where the probability of success is very low. The persistence of a limited reserve period in baseball in the presence of a strong players’ union is evidence for this claim. By contrast, the demise of the star system reflects the diminished importance of talent development by studios. JEL Classification: J30, J41, J42, J53, L14, L82 Key words: Reserve system, star system, training, incentive contracts
    Date: 2020–12

This nep-spo issue is ©2021 by Humberto Barreto. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.