IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v136y2017icp107-124.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Optimal stopping in the NBA: Sequential search and the shot clock

Author

Listed:
  • Goldman, Matt
  • Rao, Justin M.

Abstract

We study how experienced agents solve a sequential search problem. In professional basketball teams must shoot within 24s of the start of a “possession.” The decision of when to shoot requires weighing the current shooting opportunity against the continuation value of a possession. At each second of the “shot clock,” optimal play requires that a lineup's reservation shot value equals the continuation value. We empirically test this prediction with a structural stopping model. Most lineups adopt a reservation threshold that matches the continuation value closely. Overall, the lineups we study capture 84% of the gains of a dynamic vs. an optimal fixed threshold. Lineups with more shared playing experience performed better on average. Observed mistakes lean towards “impatience” – the adopted threshold is either in too low or has excess steepness – meanings too many shots are taken early in the possession.

Suggested Citation

  • Goldman, Matt & Rao, Justin M., 2017. "Optimal stopping in the NBA: Sequential search and the shot clock," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 107-124.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:107-124
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.02.012
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268117300458
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
    2. Binmore, Ken & McCarthy, John & Ponti, Giovanni & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 2002. "A Backward Induction Experiment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 48-88, May.
    3. Thomas R. Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1994. "Repeated Play, Cooperation and Coordination: An Experimental Study," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 545-565.
    4. J. Neil Bearden & Amnon Rapoport & Ryan O. Murphy, 2006. "Sequential Observation and Selection with Rank-Dependent Payoffs: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1437-1449, September.
    5. Pakes, Ariel S, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 755-784, July.
    6. Ochs, Jack & Roth, Alvin E, 1989. "An Experimental Study of Sequential Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 355-384, June.
    7. Bill Provencher, 1997. "Structural Versus Reduced-Form Estimation of Optimal Stopping Problems," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 357-368.
    8. David Romer, 2006. "Do Firms Maximize? Evidence from Professional Football," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 340-365, April.
    9. J. Keith Murnighan & Alvin E. Roth, 1983. "Expecting Continued Play in Prisoner's Dilemma Games," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 27(2), pages 279-300, June.
    10. Johnson, Eric J. & Camerer, Colin & Sen, Sankar & Rymon, Talia, 2002. "Detecting Failures of Backward Induction: Monitoring Information Search in Sequential Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 16-47, May.
    11. Rami Zwick & Amnon Rapoport & Alison King Chung Lo & A. V. Muthukrishnan, 2003. "Consumer Sequential Search: Not Enough or Too Much?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(4), pages 503-519, October.
    12. Sims, Charles & Finnoff, David, 2013. "When is a “wait and see” approach to invasive species justified?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 235-255.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal stopping; Expertise; Lab vs. field; Behavioral biases; Marginal thinking;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • C57 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Econometrics of Games and Auctions
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:107-124. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.