View Full Version : study: referee bias does exist...but just not in the way everyone thinks

06-04-2009, 02:30 PM
An academic study of NBA officiating found little to no evidence that referees favor teams from large media markets in the playoffs, a favorite conspiracy theory of skeptical fans.

But the same study found that NBA referees tend to favor home teams, teams trailing in a game and teams trailing in a playoff series


06-04-2009, 02:32 PM
interesting actually

06-04-2009, 02:37 PM
Stop this madness.

06-04-2009, 02:41 PM
Isn't that kind of obvious? Of course they'll favor teams trailing in a game/series to keep it competitive.

06-04-2009, 02:44 PM
And another..

The aforementioned New York Times article highlighted the basic finding. Via an examination of more than ten years of data, Price and Wolfers found evidence that white referees called more fouls on black players. And furthermore, black referees called more fouls on white players.

To understand this result it’s important to have some sense of the work involved in this research. Here are some highlights.

The data set consisted of over 250,000 player observations. The sheer size of the data set made estimating the model quite difficult. Joe indicated that one run of the model took three weeks to complete.

The size of the data set was not the only complexity. Joe and Justin also controlled for literally thousands of independent variables. Again, this was a very large model.

The basic finding – the race of the referees and players impacts the fouls called on
a player – was consistently found despite the fact the authors employed a variety of different specifications. In sum, this result is quite robust.