Celia Page, an economics major from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, made the most of her four years at Haverford College.
“While at Haverford, I was an Admission Office Fellow, which allowed me to not only share my own Haverford experiences at Haverford but also meet so many new people,” Page said. “In addition, I was co-captain of the Varsity Soccer Team at Haverford and I was an outside midfielder. I also served on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), where I served as a liaison between the athletic department and the greater Haverford community. Finally, I was an economics teaching assistant for Analytical Methods for Economics and Introduction to Econometrics throughout my time at Haverford.”
Page’s initial interest in her senior thesis topic, “An Examination of Discrimination in the Premier League,” arose from her work with Professor Anne Preston in her Junior Research Seminar: Sports as an Economics Laboratory. That inspired Page to dig deeper into the study of sports economics.
“I chose to complete my economics senior thesis on discrimination in Premier League soccer specifically, as there have been many instances of both fan-based and player-based discrimination against non-white players in the league to date,” Page said. “I felt as though examining referee behavior, in terms of the number of yellow and red cards awarded to non-white players, could potentially shed light on more nuanced forms of discrimination the Premier League.”
Page’s thesis research was rooted in the fields of sports economics and discrimination research, an area that has received research attention mainly in basketball, baseball and football.
“Referee behavior very generally serves as an interesting point for research, as it potentially highlights a more nuanced form of discrimination,” Page said. “Many of the pieces of literature within the field ultimately find that discrimination against non-white players does exist; my thesis sought to test if these results held in Premier League soccer. Given the frequently reported incidents of fan-based discrimination against players of color in the league, I thought it would be important to examine if referees also display bias with the number of awarded yellow and red cards to non-white players compared to their white teammates. The results of my analysis found that non-white soccer players in the Premier League receive less yellow cards when compared to white players. These results are significant within the sports economics and discrimination fields of research, a field that is constantly growing. In addition, this analysis could be replicated for other leagues across Europe, in addition to the MLS. Overall, my findings add to a growing field – one that is topical and important to address.”
Prof. Preston, who became her thesis advisor following Junior Seminar, helped her develop a thesis topic and then conduct the research and analysis. Throughout her senior year, Page says that Prof. Preston provided invaluable guidance – including how to deal with unexpected challenges and errors.
“It enhanced my critical thinking skills, allowed me to develop strong analytical tools and more,” Page said. “Given the nature of the data I was working with, there were many inconsistencies, missing bits of information and more which made the data collection portion of my analysis a bit difficult. Learning how to navigate these kinds of challenging scenarios showed me that a) persistence is key and b) not every challenge has a simple solution. Being able to overcome these kinds of challenges throughout the senior thesis project made the whole process incredibly rewarding. In addition, the senior thesis process allowed me to develop concise and clear analysis tools, which I know will help me long-term. Taking large portions of Stata code output and synthesizing this information into an understandable format allowed me to hone in on my analytical skills.”
Since graduating from Haverford, Page has moved to New York City to begin working at JPMorgan Chase as a markets analyst, focusing on equity derivatives.
“My thesis work will play an important role in my career because of the valuable skills it taught me; namely enhancing my analytical skills and being able to deal with challenges,” Page said. “The sales and trading world is incredibly fast-paced, and being able to understand, analyze and ultimately synthesize complex pieces of information will be crucial for this role. My economics background will also be beneficial, as I will be able to understand the market and the various economic drivers that can influence it.”
“What They Learned” is a blog series exploring the thesis work of recent graduates.