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Action bias among elite soccer goalkeepers: The case of penalty kicks

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  • Bar-Eli, Michael
  • Azar, Ofer H.
  • Ritov, Ilana
  • Keidar-Levin, Yael
  • Schein, Galit

Abstract

In soccer penalty kicks, goalkeepers choose their action before they can clearly observe the kick direction. An analysis of 286 penalty kicks in top leagues and championships worldwide shows that given the probability distribution of kick direction, the optimal strategy for goalkeepers is to stay in the goal's center. Goalkeepers, however, almost always jump right or left. We propose the following explanation for this behavior: because the norm is to jump, norm theory (Kahneman and Miller, 1986) implies that a goal scored yields worse feelings for the goalkeeper following inaction (staying in the center) than following action (jumping), leading to a bias for action. The omission bias, a bias in favor of inaction, is reversed here because the norm here is reversed - to act rather than to choose inaction. The claim that jumping is the norm is supported by a second study, a survey conducted with 32 top professional goalkeepers. The seemingly biased decision making is particularly striking since the goalkeepers have huge incentives to make correct decisions, and it is a decision they encounter frequently. Finally, we discuss several implications of the action/omission bias for economics and management.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 4477.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4477

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Keywords: Decision Making; Uncertainty; Choice Behavior; Sport Psychology; Behavioral Economics; Action Bias; Omission Bias; Commission Bias; Action Effect; Inaction Effect; Actor Effect; Economic Psychology; Heuristics and Biases; Soccer; Goalkeepers; Penalty Kicks; Risk; Norms;

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References

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  1. Zeelenberg, M. & Dijk, E. van & Bos, K. van den & Pieters, R., 2002. "The Inaction Effect in the Psychology of Regret," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-89429, Tilburg University.
  2. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "Professionals Play Minimax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 395-415, 04.
  3. Ritov, Ilana & Baron, Jonathan, 1992. " Status-Quo and Omission Biases," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 49-61, February.
  4. Vulkan, Nir, 2000. " An Economist's Perspective on Probability Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 101-18, February.
  5. 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.
  6. Zeelenberg, Marcel & Pieters, Rik, 2004. "Consequences of regret aversion in real life: The case of the Dutch postcode lottery," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 155-168, March.
  7. Ritov, Ilana & Baron, Jonathan, 1995. "Outcome Knowledge, Regret, and Omission Bias," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 119-127, November.
  8. Zeelenberg, M. & Pieters, R., 2004. "Consequences of regret aversion in real life: The case of the Dutch postcode lottery," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-126233, Tilburg University.
  9. Pieters, Rik & Zeelenberg, Marcel, 2005. "On bad decisions and deciding badly: When intention-behavior inconsistency is regrettable," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 18-30, May.
  10. Patt, Anthony & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2000. " Action Bias and Environmental Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 45-72, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Ofer Azar & Michael Bar-Eli, 2011. "Do soccer players play the mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(25), pages 3591-3601.
  2. Germán Coloma, 2012. "The penalty-kick game under incomplete information," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 487, Universidad del CEMA.
  3. repec:fee:wpaper:1202 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Shachat, Jason & Swarthout, J. Todd & Wei, Lijia, 2012. "A hidden Markov model for the detection of pure and mixed strategy play in games," MPRA Paper 39896, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Ert, Eyal & Erev, Ido, 2008. "The rejection of attractive gambles, loss aversion, and the lemon avoidance heuristic," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 715-723, November.
  6. Eyal Peer & Lidor Solomon, 2012. "Professionally biased: Misestimations of driving speed, journey time and time-savings among taxi and car drivers," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(2), pages 165-172, March.
  7. Sandri, Serena & Schade, Christian & Mußhoff, Oliver & Odening, Martin, 2010. "Holding on for too long? An experimental study on inertia in entrepreneurs' and non-entrepreneurs' disinvestment choices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 30-44, October.
  8. Gernot Wagner & Richard Zeckhauser, 2012. "Climate policy: hard problem, soft thinking," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 507-521, February.

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