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Sutter, Matthias; Kocher, Martin G. (2004): Favoritism of agents - The case of referees' home bias. In: Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 25, No. 4: pp. 461-469
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We study the behavior of football (soccer) referees in the German Bundesliga. Referees are requested to act as impartial agents. However, they may allocate benefits and rewards in a biased way. Agency theory has long neglected this possible form of malfeasance of economic agents, but has rather concentrated on agents exerting suboptimal effort levels. Favoritism or biased behavior of referees can be investigated by examining their decisions on awarding penalties or extra time at the end of a football match. We can confirm a systematic home bias of referees.