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Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination

Christopher A. Parsons (), Johan Sulaeman (), Michael C. Yates () and Daniel Hamermesh
Additional contact information
Christopher A. Parsons: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Johan Sulaeman: Southern Methodist University
Michael C. Yates: Auburn University

No 3899, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We explore how umpires' racial/ethnic preferences are expressed in their evaluation of Major League Baseball pitchers. Controlling for umpire, pitcher, batter and catcher fixed effects and many other factors, strikes are more likely to be called if the umpire and pitcher match race/ethnicity. This effect only exists where there is little scrutiny of umpires' behavior – in ballparks without computerized systems monitoring umpires' calls, at poorly attended games, and when the called pitch cannot determine the outcome of the at-bat. If a pitcher shares the home-plate umpire's race/ethnicity, he gives up fewer hits, strikes out more batters, and improves his team's chance of winning. The general implication is that standard measures of salary discrimination that adjust for measured productivity may be flawed. We derive the magnitude of the bias generally and apply it to several examples.

Keywords: strategic interactions; worker evaluation; wage equations; economics of sports (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J44 J71 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 46 pages
Date: 2008-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hpe, nep-lab and nep-spo
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5)

Published - published in: American Economic Review, 2011, 101 (4), 1410-1435

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Working Paper: Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination (2007) Downloads
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