Working Papers

Magistro, B. and Wack, M., Racial Bias in Fans and Officials: Evidence from the Italian Serie A. (Minor Revisions)

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Recent scholarship studying the impact of racism and race-based prejudice has begun to elucidate its rampant persistence throughout all contexts of modern society, including the world of sports. Prior research from American sports leagues has shown that even referees, trained officials intended to enact neutral judgements, are subject to bias against Black and dark-skinned players. To extend these studies and inform policies aimed at combating racial bias in public spaces more broadly, we report results from a unique dataset of over 6,000 player-year observations from the Italian Serie A to examine whether these biases also exist in European football. Our results show that darker-skinned players receive more foul calls and more cards than lighter-skinned players, controlling for a range of confounders. By exploiting an absence of fans induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, we also present preliminary evidence that fans may play a key role in inducing poor calls against darker-skinned players.

Borwein, S., Bonikowski, B., Loewen, P., Lee-Whiting, B. and Magistro, B. Perceived automation threat, populism, and vote choice: evidence from 15 European democracies.

The political consequences of Automation and Artificial Intelligence has become the focus of some populism and nationalism literature. We contribute to this literature by drawing from a data set of over 15,000 respondents from 15 European countries to estimate how respondents’ egotropic and sociotropic fears about automation and job loss relate to party support. We find a positive relationship between personal automation risk and left voting, but a negative relationship between personal automation risk and support for populist right parties. We find that nativism suppresses the overall negative relationship between personal automation fear and populist right party support. We also find that that perceptions of collective threat increases intentions to vote for populist right parties, but not other party families. Overall, our analysis suggests that both non-populist and populist left parties could be positioned to make substantial gains when citizens feel more personally exposed to automation and AI.

Magistro, B. and Menaldo, V., Exploring Economic Populism, a Neglected, but Growing, Phenomenon

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The economic cost of populism is extremely high: after 15 years, GDP per capita is 10% lower compared to plausible non-populist counterfactuals. We seek to look under the hood and explain the mechanics behind these numbers: we provide a framework to make sense of this pattern and explain the systematic, mutually reinforcing association between populism and economic dysfunction and underperformance. Populists emanating from either the left or the right tend to converge on a similar political economic model: protectionism, crony capitalism, and inveterate rent seeking. We also adduce supporting evidence from very different places, Argentina, Chile, Greece, and Italy, and across disparate time periods. We argue that populism almost always ushers in economic collapse. We posit that a key reason for this is that, rather than seeing economic interactions as “win-win” situations, populists are obsessed with zero-sum thinking.

Magistro, B. How durable is the impact of the European debt crisis on attitudes on national and EU democracy and governance? A closing gap.

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Studies find that the European debt crisis and the austerity policies forced upon deficit countries by the EU and the IMF affected citizens’ attitudes on democracy and governance. The conditionality imposed upon peripheral Eurozone countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Cyprus, Greece and Spain) reduced institutional trust at both the national and EU levels, creating a trust gap between conditionality and no-conditionality countries. This letter uses a difference-in-difference event study design to investigate whether this gap is permanent or whether it fades away over time. Findings suggest that attitudes on national and EU democracy and governance worsened in 2010 after the European debt crisis in conditionality countries as opposed to other EU countries. However, this gap started to reduce in 2014, and was eventually closed in 2017.

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