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Can Awareness Reduce (and Reverse) Identity-driven Bias in Judgement? Evidence from International Cricket

Subhasish Chowdhury, Sarah Jewell and Carl Singleton

No em-dp2023-10, Economics Discussion Papers from Department of Economics, University of Reading

Abstract: Competition is often judged by official decision makers, such as judges, juries, and referees. Systematic bias in those judgements, frequently related to social identities, may have undesirable effects. We investigate whether raising awareness can correct or even reverse such bias. We use a natural experiment from international Test cricket to focus on the match umpires and their decisions. Previous research has found evidence of biased judgements favouring the home team when the umpires shared the same nationality. Policy makers solved this by employing neutral country umpires. From June 2020, home umpires temporarily returned, sometimes in empty stadiums, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We argue that these umpires were then under substantial scrutiny, due to the previous bias being well-known and highlighted in the media, alongside a technology-driven decision review system. Through a behavioural model, we show that such circumstances may result in the in-group judgement bias being eliminated or reversed. We find no evidence of the historical bias in umpire judgements returning during the pandemic. Instead, we find over-compensating behaviour, with a pre-pandemic home team advantage of 26% in the frequency of subjective and difficult 'leg before wicket' decisions being eliminated by the return of home umpires. Tight decisions tended to go against the home team more frequently when home umpires were officiating. We conclude that awareness not only has a long-term effect on eliminating identity-driven judgement bias but also may reverse it against the in-group.

Keywords: Natural Experiment; Identity; Judgement Bias; Social Pressure; Home Advantage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D01 D91 L83 Z2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2023-07-30
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-spo
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