Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Discrimination in the NBA

The New York Times calls our attention to a new paper by economists Justin Wolfers and Joseph Price. This is from the abstract:

The NBA provides an intriguing place to test for taste-based discrimination:referees and players are involved in repeated interactions in a high-pressure setting with referees making the type of split-second decisions that might allow implicit racial biases to become evident....We find that—even conditioning on player and referee fixed effects (and specific game fixed effects)—that more personal fouls are awarded against players when they are officiated by an opposite-race officiating crew than when officiated by an own-race refereeing crew. These biases are sufficiently large that we find appreciable differences in whether predominantly black teams are more likely to win or lose, according to the racial composition of the refereeing crew.