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The Penalty-Duel and Institutional Design: Is there a Neeskens-Effect?

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  • Wolfgang Leininger
  • Axel Ockenfels

Abstract

We document an increase in the scoring probability from penalties in soccer, which separates the time period before 1974 significantly from that after 1976: the scoring probability increased by 11%.We explain this finding by arguing that the institution of penalty-shooting before 1974 is best described as a standard of behaviour for striker and goal-keeper, which in game-theoretic terms represents a 2x2-game. In contrast to this, after 1976 the institution of the penalty-duel is best described by a 3x3 game form constrained by certain behavioural rules. Those rules can be parameterized by a single parameter, which nevertheless allows the theoretical reproduction (and hence explanation) of all the empirically documented regularities.The scoring probability in equilibrium of the latter institution is higher than in the former one.We present historical evidence to the effect, that this change in the perception of penalty- duels (as two different games), was caused by Johan Neeskens’ shrewd and “revolutionary” penalty-taking during World-Cup 1974, when he shot a penalty in the first minute of the final between Germany and the Netherlands right into the middle of the goalmouth.

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Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 34.

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Date of creation: 03 Aug 2007
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Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0034

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  1. Gary E. Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2000. "Fair Procedures. Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 483.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Werner Güth & Axel Ockenfels, . "The Coevolution of Morality and Legal Institutions - An indirect evolutionary approach -," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-06, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  3. Ritzberger, Klaus, 2002. "Foundations of Non-Cooperative Game Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247868.
  4. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  5. Werner Güth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "The Coevolution of Trust and Institutions in Anonymous and Non-anonymous Communities," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  6. Moschini, GianCarlo, 2004. "Nash equilibrium in strictly competitive games: live play in soccer," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 365-371, December.
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