Professor Robert J. Witt

Professor of Economics

Qualifications: BA (CNAA), MSc, MA, PhD (Essex)

Phone: Work: 01483 68 6954
Room no: 23 AD 00

Office hours

on sabbatical leave until September 2014

RePEc web page: download papers

Further information


Robert Witt is Professor of Economics at the University of Surrey. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. From August 2008 to July 2013, he served as Head of the School of Economics at Surrey. Professor Witt was educated at Netherhall School, Cambridge, Kingston Polytechnic, and the University of Essex. He worked subsequently as an economic analyst in the City, taught at the City of London Polytechnic and then moved to the University of St. Andrews before being appointed Lecturer in the economics department at Surrey University in 1992. In 2010 he was promoted to full Professor. He has served as a consultant to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Home Office and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. His research is mainly in the areas of labour economics, economics of crime, and sports economics.

Research Interests

Labour economics, economics of crime, and economics of sport.


Journal articles

  • Bachan R, Reilly B, Witt R. (2014) 'Team Performance and Race: Evidence from the English and French National Soccer Teams'. Applied Economics, 46 (13), pp. 1535-1546.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (2013) 'Red Cards, Referee Home Bias and Social Pressure: Evidence From English Premiership Soccer'. Applied Economics Letters, 20 (7), pp. 710-714.
  • Reilly B, Rickman N, Witt R. (2012) 'Robbing banks: Crime does pay - but not very much'. Significance, 9 (3), pp. 17-21.
  • Draca M, Machin S, Witt R. (2011) 'Panic on the Streets of London: Police, Crime, and the July 2005 Terror Attacks'. American Economic Review, 101 (5), pp. 2157-2181.


    In this paper we study the causal impact of police on crime, looking at what happened to crime and police before and after the terror attacks that hit central London in July 2005. The attacks resulted in a large redeployment of police officers to central London as compared to outer London. During this time, crime fell significantly in central relative to outer London. The instrumental variable approach we use uncovers an elasticity of crime with respect to police of approximately −0.3 to −0.4, so that a 10 percent increase in police activity reduces crime by around 3 to 4 percent.

  • Reilly B, Witt R. (2011) 'Disciplinary Sanctions in English Premiership Football: Is There a Racial Dimension?'. Labour Economics, 18 (3), pp. 360-370.


    This paper assesses the evidence for a racial difference in both the dispensation of formal disciplinary sanctions and in the number of fouls called by referees in professional football. The study uses a unique dataset comprising player match-level information drawn from five recent seasons of the English Premiership. These data were merged with data from other sources to identify, among other things, the racial affiliation of the player across four separate categories (viz., white, black, mixed race, and Asian). No systematic evidence of an unfair treatment of players from the non-white minority groups in respect of either the receipt of disciplinary cards or in the number of penalised fouls called by referees was detected.

  • Bachan R, Reilly B, Witt R. (2008) 'The hazard of being an English football league manager: empirical estimates for three recent league seasons'. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 59 (7), pp. 884-891.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (2008) 'Domestic burglaries and the real price of audio-visual goods: Some time series evidence for Britain'. Economics Letters, 100 (1), pp. 96-100.
  • Rickman N, Witt R. (2008) 'Favouritism and financial incentives: A natural experiment'. Economica, 75 (298), pp. 296-309.


    Principals who exercise favouritism towards certain agents may harm those who are not so favoured. We address this issue in the context of a natural experiment from English soccer. We study the effects of professional referees on a common measure of referee bias: length of injury time in close matches. We find that referees exercised a degree of favouritism prior to professionalism but not afterwards, having controlled for selection and soccer-wide effects. We also discuss the suitability of the variable that we, and others, use to measure favouritism, noting that alternative interpretations may be possible.

  • Rickman N, Witt R. (2007) 'The determinants of employee crime in the UK'. Economica, 74 (293), pp. 161-175.
  • Lemke RJ, Witt R, Witte AD. (2007) 'The transition from welfare to work'. Eastern Economic Journal, 33 (3), pp. 359-373.
  • Witt R. (2005) 'Do Players React to Sanction Changes? Evidence form the English Premier League'. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 52 (4), pp. 623-640.
  • Clements MP, Witt R. (2005) 'Forecasting Quarterly Aggregate Crime Series'. The Manchester School, 76 (6), pp. 709-727.
  • Witte AD, Witt R. (2001) 'What We Spend and What We get: Public and Private Provision of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice'. Fiscal Studies, 22 (1), pp. 1-40.
  • Witt R, Witte AD. (2000) 'Crime, Prison and Female Labour Supply'. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 16 (1), pp. 69-85.
  • Witt R, Clarke A, Fielding N. (1999) 'Crime and Economic Activity: A Panel Data Approach'. British Journal of Criminology, 39 (3), pp. 391-400.
  • Witt R, Clarke A, Fielding N. (1998) 'Crime, Earnings, Inequality and Unemployment in England and Wales'. Applied Economics Letters, 5 (4), pp. 265-267.
  • Witt R, Clarke A, Fielding N. (1998) 'Common Trends and Common Cycles in Regional Crime'. Applied Economics, 30 (1), pp. 1407-1412.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (1998) 'Petrol Price Asymmetries Revisited'. Energy Economics, 20 (3), pp. 297-308.
  • Witt R. (1997) 'The Demand for Car Fuel Efficiency: Some Evidence for the UK'. Applied Economics, 29 (9), pp. 1249-1254.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (1996) 'Crime, Deterrence and Unemployment in England and Wales: An Empirical Analysis'. Bulletin of Economic Research, 48 (2), pp. 137-159.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (1995) 'English League Transfer Prices: Is There a Racial Dimension?'. Applied Economics Letters, 2 (7), pp. 220-222.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (1994) 'Regional House Prices and possessions in England and Wales: An Empirical Analysis'. Regional Studies, 28 (5), pp. 475-482.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (1992) 'Regional Crime and Unemployment in Scotland: An Econometric Analysis'. Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 39 (2), pp. 213-228.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (1992) 'Are the Treasury's Tax Revenue Forecasts Rational?'. The Manchester School, 60 (4), pp. 390-402.


  • Fielding NG, Clarke A, Witt R. (2000) The Economic Dimensions of Crime. Palgrave Macmillan

Book chapters

  • Draca M, Machin S, Witt R. (2010) 'Crime Displacement and Police Interventions: Evidence from London’s “Operation Theseus"'. in Tella RD, Edwards S, Schargrodsky E (eds.) The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America University Of Chicago Press: NBER Conference. Article number 10 , pp. 359-374.


    This book contributes to the current debate on causes and solutions by applying lessons learned from recent developments in the economics of crime

  • Witte AD, Witt R. (2003) 'What We Spend and What We Get: Public and Private Provision of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice'. in Miles D, Myles G, Preston I (eds.) The Economics of Public Spending OUP Oxford , pp. 199-235.
  • Witt R, Witte AD. (2002) 'Crime Causation: Economic Theories'. in Dressler J (ed.) Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice MacMillan Reference Library 1, pp. 302-306.
  • Clarke A, Fielding N, Witt R. (2000) 'Crime, Unemployment and Deprivation'. in Fielding N, Clarke A, Witt R (eds.) The Economics Dimensions of Crime London and New York : Macmillan Press and St. Martin's Press , pp. 210-222.

Working Papers

  • Bale T, Reilly B, Witt R. (2008) Determining Constituency Marginality in the UK Using the Expense Claims of MPs. University of Surrey School of Economics Discussion Paper, DP 01/08, pp. 1-18.
  • Reilly B, Witt R. (2007) The Determinants of Base Pay and the Role of Race in Major League Soccer: Evidence from the 2007 League Season. University of Surrey School of Economics Discussion Paper, DP 19/07, pp. 1-27.

Page Owner: ecs1rw
Page Created: Monday 18 January 2010 09:55:03 by t00356
Last Modified: Tuesday 18 March 2014 05:07:51 by ecs1rw
Expiry Date: Monday 18 April 2011 09:53:34
Assembly date: Wed Apr 16 22:17:43 BST 2014
Content ID: 21818
Revision: 102
Community: 1200