The size of the total effect of a having compatriot judge (including both nationalistic bias and vote trading) is what is most relevant for the fairness of the competition. Fortunately, judge anonymity does not prevent me from estimating this
combined effect—it merely prevents me from decomposing it into nationalism and
vote trading. When I compare the total compatriot-judge effect before and after
judges’ scores were anonymized immediately after the 2002 scandal, I find it
increased by about 20% (although this increase was not statistically significant).
About a year after the scandal, the ISU introduced a new, more complicated scoring
system. The new system significantly reduced the role of judges’ subjective scores
and also, by virtue of its complexity, made the role of individual judges less salient,
which can arguably be considered a further reduction in transparency. Despite the
fact that the lower weight given subjective scores should have decreased incentives
for bias, the compatriot-judge bias again increased slightly. Taken together, the
results suggest little evidence that reducing transparency achieved its goal of reducing favoritism and corruption. If anything, the judging reforms were followed by
modest increases in bias.