Empirical Economic Bulletin, An Undergraduate Journal


This paper examines the impact of an NBA player’s salary on the number of fouls drawn by them in a season. NBA referees have complete discretion in making calls of whether a player does or does not commit a foul in game, with decisions susceptible to bias, favoring certain players with more fouls called in their favor than another player. The study uses salary to determine a player’s value, using a panel dataset of all players from the 2015-16 NBA season through the 2018-19 NBA season for salary and game statistics. The impact of salary is determined using a quantile regression approach. The focus on the significance of salary on fouls drawn. The results show statistically significant evidence of star-player bias by NBA referees. Players with higher salaries can expect to receive a greater number of foul calls drawn per 48 minutes of play than players receiving a lower salary.