Professor Robert Witt

Research Interests

Labour Economics; Economics of Crime; Economics of Sport


ECO3038 Topics in Microeconomics

ECOM043 Econometrics 2

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Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 6954

Find me on campus
Room: 23 AD 00

My office hours

Tuesday 2:00-4:00pm Weeks 9-11

RePEc web page: download papers


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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clements MP, Witt R. (2005) 'Forecasting Quarterly Aggregate Crime Series'. The Manchester School, 76 (6), pp. 709-727.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Other publications

  • Clark S, Close R, Porter A, Witt R. (1978) Flow of Funds - Analysis and Forecasts: Barclays Review 1978 - Group Econ Intelligence. Barclays Review, 53 (3), pp. 47-51.

Working Papers

  • Witt RJ, Reilly B. (2016) Disciplinary Sanction and Social Pressure in English Premiership Soccer. University of Sussex Economics Working Paper Series, (No. 88-2016)


    This paper uses player/match level data drawn from five playing seasons of the English Premiership League (EPL) to test for the presence of a refereeing susceptibility to social pressure in the application of soccer’s commonest sanction, the yellow disciplinary card. Using both player-specific fixed and random effects models, tentative support for the proposition is uncovered. The estimated effect, however, is found to be negligible in magnitude and unlikely to influence match outcomes in a meaningful way.

  • 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.
  • Temple P, Witt R, Spencer C. (2004) Institutions and Long-Run Growth in the UK: the Role of Standards.. University of Surrey School of Economics Discussion Paper DP 19/07.,
  • Witte AD, Queralt M, Witt R, Griesinger H. (2002) The Policy Context and Infant and Toddler Care in the Welfare Reform Era.. NBER Working Paper No. 8893,
  • Witte AD, Witt R. (2001) What we spend and what we get: Public and private provision of crime prevention.. NBER Working Paper No. 8204,
  • Witte AD, Queralt M, Witt R. (2000) Changes in the Availability, Quality and Price of Child Care in Massachusetts Between 1997 to 1999.. Wellesley College Working Paper 2000, 2000-12.,
  • Lemke RJ, Witte AD, Queralt M, Witt R. (2000) Child Care and the Welfare to Work Transition.. NBER Working Paper No. 7583,
  • Witt R, Witte AD. (1998) Crime, Imprisonment, and Female Labor Force Participation: A Time-Series Approach.. NBER Working Paper No. 6786,
  • Witt R, Clarke A, Fielding N. (1996) Are Higher Long-Term Unemployment Rates Associated with Higher Crime?. University of Surrey School of Economics Discussion Paper DP 7/96,
  • Hunt LC, Witt R. (1995) An Analysis of UK Energy Demand Using Multivariate Cointegration.. Surrey Energy Economics Discussion Paper Series SEEDS86,

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