Racial bias in newspaper ratings of professional football players

Francesco Principe, Jan C. van Ours*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


We study whether there is a racial bias in ratings of professional football players in Italian newspapers. We find that there is such a bias. Conditional on objective performance indicators black players receive a lower rating than non-black players. This is not a difference across the board but predominantly present at the lower end of the newspaper rating distribution. The best black players are not subject to a racial bias in ratings. We also find that clubs do not have a racial bias in the wages they pay to players. We speculate that for clubs there is sufficient competition to remove racial wage discrimination. Clubs simply want value for money. Newspaper football experts do seem to have a racial bias in their rating of players. We hypothesize that this might be unconscious discrimination related to stereotyping of black players.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103980
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Early online date2 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

JEL classification: J15, J71, L82, L83

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


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