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The impact of psychological traits on performance in sequential tournaments: Evidence from a tennis field experiment

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  • Bühren, Christoph
  • Steinberg, Philip J.

Abstract

Extant research has analyzed the impact of player position (first- versus second-mover) on individual performance in sequential tournaments. However, it remains unclear whether the first- or second-mover experiences an advantage in such tournaments. We argue that prior literature has ignored heterogeneity of psychological traits and incentive schemes. We conducted a tennis field experiment using the ABBA sequence, in which we do not find a first- or second-mover advantage on game level. However, on shot level (taking into account single moves) we observe, on average, a second-mover advantage. Analyzing the impact of psychological traits, we find that subjects with high self-esteem faced a second-mover advantage whereas subjects with low self-esteem faced a first-mover advantage on shot level. We do not observe significant moderating influences of individual, team, or tournament incentive schemes.

Suggested Citation

  • Bühren, Christoph & Steinberg, Philip J., 2019. "The impact of psychological traits on performance in sequential tournaments: Evidence from a tennis field experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 12-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:72:y:2019:i:c:p:12-29
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2018.12.010
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Performance under pressure; Experiment; Psychological traits; Second-mover advantage; Tennis; Sequential tournaments; Theory of core self-evaluation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Z20 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - General
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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