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Optimal Mixed Strategy Play: Professionals Can, Students Cannot, But What About The In Between Case?

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  • PFAFF Jordan

    (University of Central Arkansas, USA)

  • MCGARRITY P. Joseph

    (University of Central Arkansas, USA)

Abstract

Using penalty kicks in collegiate soccer matches, we test whether kickers choose where to place shots, and whether goalies choose where to dive in a way that is consistent with optimal mixed strategy play. The previous literature, studying professional soccer players, provides evidence of mixed strategy play in penalty kick scenarios. These results contrast with the evidence obtained in a lab, studying subjects who only play a game a few times and have insignificant monetary payoffs. These lab results find no evidence of mixed strategy play. The contrast between the results obtained from these very different environments makes it unclear which result generalizes to other settings. By studying college athletes, we analyze the middle ground, which is where most strategic decisions will be made. We find that college players employ optimal strategic play in some respects, but not in other respects.

Suggested Citation

  • PFAFF Jordan & MCGARRITY P. Joseph, 2016. "Optimal Mixed Strategy Play: Professionals Can, Students Cannot, But What About The In Between Case?," Studies in Business and Economics, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 11(2), pages 104-114, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:blg:journl:v:11:y:2016:i:2:p:104-114
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    File URL: http://eccsf.ulbsibiu.ro/RePEc/blg/journl/11210pfaff&mcgarrity.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "Professionals Play Minimax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 395-415.
    2. Rapoport, Amnon & Erev, Ido & Abraham, Elizabeth V. & Olson, David E., 1997. "Randomization and Adaptive Learning in a Simplified Poker Game," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 31-49, January.
    3. World Bank Group, 2015. "Global Economic Prospects, June 2015," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21999.
    4. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1521-1538.
    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, pages 1138-1151.
    6. Mookherjee, Dilip & Sopher, Barry, 1997. "Learning and Decision Costs in Experimental Constant Sum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 97-132.
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    Keywords

    Mixed Strategy; Soccer; Amateurs;

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