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I. Preston and S. Szymanski, 2003, "Racial Discrimination in English Football" , Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 47, 342-363.

This paper examines data on the racial composition and financial and sporting performance of professional English soccer teams between 1974 and 1993. In an earlier paper, Szymanski showed that teams with an above average proportion of black players would tend to perform better on average that would have been expected given the aggregate wage bills of these clubs. Since players are more or less freely traded in soccer this presents strong market-based evidence of discrimination. In the present paper we explore the source of such discrimination. In particular we are concerned to test the hypothesis that discrimination is attributable to the fans rather than the owners. If fans were racially prejudiced then the owners of a team might expect to generate a smaller marginal revenue product from a black player compared to an equally skilled white player. We assess the presence of fan discrimination by examining relationships between attendance, revenues, performance and the proportion of black players in the team. We also incorporate evidence regarding statements of racial prejudice (from the British Social Attitudes Survey) in particular regions. We find little evidence that the discrimination against black players has its source in fan discrimination.

I. Preston and J. Thomas, 2002, "Rain Rules for Limited Overs Cricket and Probabilities of Victory," The Statistician (Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series D), 51, 189-202.

The paper discusses the properties of a rule for adjusting scores in limited overs cricket matches to preserve probabilities of victory across interruptions by rain. Such a rule is argued to be attractive on grounds of fairness, intelligibility and tactical neutrality. A comparison with other rules also offers a useful way of assessing the way in which the application of such rules will affect the fortunes of teams in rain-affected games. Simulations based on an estimated parameterization of hazards of dismissal and on numerical dynamic programming methods are used to compare a probability preserving rule with the now widely used Duckworth–Lewis method.

I. Preston and J. Thomas, 2000, "Batting Strategy in Limited Overs Cricket" The Statistician (Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series D) 49, 95-106.

The paper attempts to understand batting strategies that are employed in limited overs cricket games. The question of the optimum batting strategy is posed in a simplified dynamic programming representation. We demonstrate that optimum strategies may be expected to differ fundamentally in the first and second innings, typically involving an increasing run rate when setting a target but a run rate which may decline over the course of an innings when chasing one. Data on English county level limited overs games are used to estimate a model of actual batting behaviour. The statistical framework takes the form of an interesting variant on conventional survival analysis models.

I. Preston, S. F. Ross and S. Szymanski, 2000, "Seizing the Moment: A Blueprint for Reform of World Cricket," paper presented to ESRC Study Group, Economics of Sport, Arts and Leisure, 13 December 2000, available in S. Szymanski, 2010, The Comparative Economics of Sport, Palgrave Macmillan

This paper was written at a time when a corruption crisis in cricket threatened the future of the oldest organised team sport. In the longer term, there is need to reform the structure of the international game to ensure that the conditions that encouraged cheating to flourish are eliminated. In this paper we argue that the fundamental problem is the meagre financial rewards received by the top international cricketers. Low pay for international cricketers is the consequence of an organisational structure that uses the revenue from popular international matches to subsidise domestic competitions and that undermines the bargaining position of top players over pay. Removing the cross-subsidy might provide a temporary respite, but since competitions are not capable of generating enough income to cover costs they would have to be severely curtailed. This in turn would limit the supply of new talent coming into the game and hence undermine its long term future. We believe that there is an alternative way to deal with the underpayment of professional cricket players. In most sports outside of North America income and thereby professional salaries are boosted by the existence of international club competitions that complement the international representative game. The introduction of international club cricket would in our view add a significant dimension to international cricket that would command spectator and media attention. Competition among international clubs for the best players would be a sure way to bid up the salaries of international cricketers.

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Ian Preston
Department of Economics
University College London
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT