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The efficiency of top agents: An analysis through service strategy in tennis

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  • Klaassen, Franc J.G.M.
  • Magnus, Jan R.

Abstract

We consider the question whether top tennis players in a top tournament (Wimbledon) employ an optimal (efficient) service strategy. While we show that top players do not, in general, follow an optimal strategy, our principal result is that the estimated inefficiencies are not large: the inefficiency regarding winning a point on service is on average 1.1% for men and 2.0% for women, implying that-by adopting an efficient service strategy-players can (on average) increase the probability of winning a match by 2.4%-points for men and 3.2%-points for women. While the inefficiencies may seem small, the financial consequences for the efficient player at Wimbledon can be substantial: the expected paycheck could rise by 18.7% for men and even by 32.8% for women. We use these findings to shed some light on the question of whether economic agents are successful optimizers.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:148:y:2009:i:1:p:72-85
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian Bervoets & Bruno Decreuse & Mathieu Faure, 2014. "A Renewed Analysis of Cheating in Contests: Theory and Evidence from Recovery Doping," AMSE Working Papers 1441, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Jun 2015.
    2. Ely, Jeffrey & Gauriot, Romain & Page, Lionel, 2017. "Do agents maximise? Risk taking on first and second serves in tennis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 135-142.
    3. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2013. "Rankings, Random Successes, and Individual Performance," Economics Working Paper Series 1340, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    4. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2016. "Media attention and betting markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 304-333.
    5. Anthony Glass & Karligash Kenjegalieva & Jason Taylor, 2015. "Game, set and match: evaluating the efficiency of male professional tennis players," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 119-131, April.

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