Article | American Economic Review | 2011

Strike Three: Discrimination, Incentives, and Evaluation

by Christopher Parsons, J. Sulaeman, M. Yates and D. Hamermesh

Abstract

Major League Baseball umpires express their racial/ethnic preferences when they evaluate pitchers. Strikes are called less often if the umpire and pitcher do not match race/ethnicity, but mainly where there is little scrutiny of umpires. Pitchers understand the incentives and throw pitches that allow umpires less subjective judgment (e.g., fastballs over home plate) when they anticipate bias. These direct and indirect effects bias performance measures of minorities downward. The results suggest how discrimination alters discriminated groups' behavior generally. They imply that biases in measured productivity must be accounted for in generating measures of wage discrimination.

Keywords: Wages; Motivation and Incentives; Prejudice and Bias; Ethnicity Characteristics; Race Characteristics; Performance Productivity; Sports; Sports Industry;

Citation:

Parsons, Christopher, J. Sulaeman, M. Yates, and D. Hamermesh. "Strike Three: Discrimination, Incentives, and Evaluation." American Economic Review 101, no. 4 (June 2011): 1410–1435.