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Do Firms Maximize? Evidence from Professional Football

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  • David Romer

Abstract

This paper examines a single, narrow decision—the choice on fourth down in the National Football League between kicking and trying for a first down—as a case study of the standard view that competition in the goods, capital, and labor markets leads firms to make maximizing choices. Play-by-play data and dynamic programming are used to estimate the average payoffs to kicking and trying for a first down under different circumstances. Examination of actual decisions shows systematic, clear-cut, and overwhelmingly statistically significant departures from the decisions that would maximize teams' chances of winning. Possible reasons for the departures are considered.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 114 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 340-365

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:114:y:2006:i:2:p:340-365

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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Cited by:
  1. Contini, Bruno & Morini, Matteo, 2007. "Testing Bounded Rationality against Full Rationality in Job Changing Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 3148, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Kurt Rotthoff, 2012. "Bankruptcy behavior in the NFL: does the overtime structure change the strategy of the game?," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 662-674, July.
  3. Di Domizio Marco, 2008. "Win the best, win the largest or win the richest. Some empirical evidence from Italian championships," wp.comunite 0047, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  4. Niven Winchester & Raymond T. Stefani, 2009. "An innovative approach to National Football League standings using optimal bonus points," Working Papers 0905, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2009.
  5. Adams, Christopher P., 2007. "Estimating demand from eBay prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1213-1232, December.
  6. Theodore L. Turocy, 2012. "An inspection game model of the stolen base in baseball: A theory of theft," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 032, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  7. Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio & Stefan Szymanski, 2006. "Goal! Profit maximization and win maximization in football leagues," Working Papers 0621, International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists.
  8. Klaassen, Franc J.G.M. & Magnus, Jan R., 2009. "The efficiency of top agents: An analysis through service strategy in tennis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 72-85, January.
  9. Csaba, László, 2008. "Módszertan és relevancia a közgazdaságtanban. A mai közgazdaságtan és a társtudományok
    [Methodology and relevancy in economics. Today s economics and associated sciences]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(4), pages 285-307.

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