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Performing best when it matters most: Evidence from professional tennis

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  • González-Díaz, Julio
  • Gossner, Olivier
  • Rogers, Brian W.

Abstract

Stakes affect aggregate performance in a wide variety of settings. At the individual level, we define the critical ability as an agent's ability to adapt performance to the importance of the situation. We identify individual critical abilities of professional tennis players, relying on point-level data from twelve years of the US Open tournament. We establish persistent heterogeneity in critical abilities. We find a significant statistical relationship between identified critical abilities and overall career success, which validates the identification procedure and suggests that response to pressure is a significant factor for success.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 84 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 767-781

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:84:y:2012:i:3:p:767-781

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Performance; Pressure; Heterogeneity; Critical ability; Career success;

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References

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  1. Jose Apesteguia & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2010. "Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2548-64, December.
  2. Thomas J. Dohmen, 2010. "Do Professionals Choke Under Pressure?," Working Papers id:2742, eSocialSciences.
  3. Hume, David, 1740. "A Treatise of Human Nature (III) Of Morals," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 3, number hume1740.
  4. Paserman, Marco Daniele, 2007. "Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players," CEPR Discussion Papers 6335, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  6. Walker, Mark & Wooders, John & Amir, Rabah, 2011. "Equilibrium play in matches: Binary Markov games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 487-502, March.
  7. P.-A. Chiappori, 2002. "Testing Mixed-Strategy Equilibria When Players Are Heterogeneous: The Case of Penalty Kicks in Soccer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1138-1151, September.
  8. Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2005. "Large stakes and big mistakes," Working Papers 05-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  10. Hume, David, 1739. "A Treatise of Human Nature (II) Of the Passions," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 2, number hume1739a.
  11. Hume, David, 1739. "A Treatise of Human Nature (I) Of the Understanding," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 1, number hume1739.
  12. Klaassen F. J G M & Magnus J. R., 2001. "Are Points in Tennis Independent and Identically Distributed? Evidence From a Dynamic Binary Panel Data Model," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 96, pages 500-509, June.
  13. Chris Frost & Simon G. Thompson, 2000. "Correcting for regression dilution bias: comparison of methods for a single predictor variable," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 163(2), pages 173-189.
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Cited by:
  1. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2013. "Leading-effect vs. Risk-taking in Dynamic Tournaments: Evidence from a Real-life Randomized Experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics 15452, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Francesco Feri & Alessandro Innocenti & Paolo Pin, 2012. "Is There Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments?," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 044, University of Siena.
  3. Jennifer Brown & Dylan B. Minor, 2011. "Selecting the Best? Spillover and Shadows in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 17639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Francesco Feri & Alessandro Innocenti & Paolo Pin, 2011. "Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments: Evidence from A Randomized Natural Experiment: Comment," Working Papers 2011-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

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