Nerves of Steel? Stress, Work Performance and Elite Athletes
AbstractThere is a notable shortage of empirical research directed at measuring the magnitude and direction of stress effects on performance in a controlled environment. One reason for this is the inherent difficulties in identifying and isolating direct performance measures for individuals. Additionally most traditional work environments contain a multitude of exogenous factors impacting individual performance, but controlling for all such factors is generally unfeasible (omitted variable bias). Moreover, instead of asking individuals about their self-reported stress levels we observe workers' behavior in situations that can be classified as stressful. For this reason we have stepped outside the traditional workplace in an attempt to gain greater controllability of these factors using the sports environment as our experimental space. We empirically investigate the relationship between stress and performance, in an extreme pressure situation (football penalty kicks) in a winner take all sporting environment (FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Cup competitions). Specifically, we examine all the penalty shootouts between 1976 and 2008 covering in total 16 events. The results indicate that extreme stressors can have a positive or negative impact on individuals' performance. On the other hand, more commonly experienced stressors do not affect professionals' performances.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2009-22.
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
performance; stressors; sport; behavioral economics; work-related stress;
Other versions of this item:
- David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Nerves of steel? Stress, work performance and elite athletes," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(19), pages 2423-2435, July.
- David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Nerves of Steel? Stress, Work Performance and Elite Athletes," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 251, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, revised 24 Sep 2009.
- D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
- J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-10-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2009-10-17 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2009-10-17 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2009-10-17 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
- NEP-SPO-2009-10-17 (Sports & Economics)
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