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Performing best when it matters most: Evidence from professional tennis

Author

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  • González-Díaz, Julio
  • Gossner, Olivier
  • Rogers, Brian W.

Abstract

Stakes affect aggregate performance in a wide variety of settings. At the individual level, we define the critical ability as an agent's ability to adapt performance to the importance of the situation. We identify individual critical abilities of professional tennis players, relying on point-level data from twelve years of the US Open tournament. We establish persistent heterogeneity in critical abilities. We find a significant statistical relationship between identified critical abilities and overall career success, which validates the identification procedure and suggests that response to pressure is a significant factor for success.

Suggested Citation

  • González-Díaz, Julio & Gossner, Olivier & Rogers, Brian W., 2012. "Performing best when it matters most: Evidence from professional tennis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 767-781.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:84:y:2012:i:3:p:767-781
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.09.021
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    Cited by:

    1. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2015. "Game, set, and match: Do women and men perform differently in competitive situations?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 96-108.
    2. Florian Lindner, 2017. "Choking under pressure of top performers: Evidence from biathlon competitions," Working Papers 2017-24, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    3. De Paola, Maria & Gioia, Francesca, 2016. "Who performs better under time pressure? Results from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 37-53.
    4. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Krumer, Alex & Rosenboim, Mosi & Shapir, Offer Moshe, 2017. "Choking under pressure and gender: Evidence from professional tennis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 176-190.
    5. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2013. "Leading-effect vs. Risk-taking in Dynamic Tournaments: Evidence from a Real-life Randomized Experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics 15452, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    6. Houy, Nicolas & Nicolaï, Jean-Philippe & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2016. "Doing Your Best When Stakes Are High? Theory and Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 9766, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Jim Downey & Joseph McGarrity, 2015. "Pick off Throws, Stolen Bases, and Southpaws: A Comparative Static Analysis of a Mixed Strategy Game," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 43(3), pages 319-335, September.
    8. Francesco Feri & Alessandro Innocenti & Paolo Pin, 2011. "Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments: Evidence from A Randomized Natural Experiment: Comment," Working Papers 2011-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    9. Christoph Bühren & Philip J. Steinberg, 2017. "The impact of psychological traits on performance in sequential tournaments: Evidence from a tennis field experiment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201705, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    10. Nicolas Houy & Jean-Philippe Nicolaï & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Always doing your best? Effort and performance in dynamic settings," Working Papers halshs-01686501, HAL.
    11. Iqbal, Hamzah & Krumer, Alex, 2017. "Discouragement Effect and Intermediate Prizes in Multi-Stage Contests: Evidence from Tennis’s Davis Cup," Economics Working Paper Series 1719, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    12. Feri, Francesco & Innocenti, Alessandro & Pin, Paolo, 2013. "Is there psychological pressure in competitive environments?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 249-256.
    13. Nicolas Houy & Jean-Philippe Nicolaï & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Always doing your best? Effort and performance in dynamic settings," Working Papers 1736, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    14. Hickman, Daniel C. & Metz, Neil E., 2015. "The impact of pressure on performance: Evidence from the PGA TOUR," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 319-330.
    15. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Krumer, Alex & Shapir, Offer Moshe, 2017. "Take a Chance on ABBA," IZA Discussion Papers 10878, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Krumer, Alex & Lechner, Michael, 2016. "First In First Win: Evidence on Unfairness of Round-Robin Tournaments in Mega-Events," Economics Working Paper Series 1611, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    17. Jennifer Brown & Dylan B. Minor, 2011. "Selecting the Best? Spillover and Shadows in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 17639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Performance; Pressure; Heterogeneity; Critical ability; Career success;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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