Social Pressure at the Plate: Inequality Aversion, Status, and Mere Exposure

Authors

  • Brian M. Mills

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management, School of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
    • Correspondence to: Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management, School of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida, P.O. Box 118208, Gainesville, FL 32611-8208, USA. E-mail: bmmillsy@hhp.ufl.edu

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Abstract

This paper uses professional baseball data to evaluate the impact of social pressures on subjective decisions made by officials. Umpires show tendencies consistent with both centrality bias and favoritism toward players with higher status in the league. Results also indicate that the odds of a strike are lower for batters in close proximity to the official throughout the game. Implications extend beyond sport to issues regarding closeness of contact in employee–manager relationships and pay and promotions decisions in the workplace. Given the persistent monitoring of officials in professional baseball, this phenomenon could be more prevalent in less scrutinized positions in other industries. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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