Tag Archives: Justin Wolfers

No harm, no foul?: Report On Referee Bias Keeps Harshing NBA’s ‘Flow’

By Arturo R. García

A report re-published this week in The Quarterly Journal of Economics suggests a racial bias among NBA referees. But the bigger story might be watching the league get forced out of its’ defensive stance on the issue.

According to the study by Joe Price and Justin Wolfers, based on analyzing 13 years’ worth of data on referee calls, the refs are 4 percent less likely to call fouls on players of their own race. (No wonder Kobe looks so surprised there.) Also, players score 2.5 percent more points during games involving ref crews of their own race. But don’t tell that to NBA Commissioner David Stern.

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