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When Pressure Sinks Performance: Evidence from Diving Competitions

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  • Eleni Garbi
  • Christos Genakos
  • Mario Pagliero

Abstract

Tournaments are designed to enhance participants' effort and productivity. However, ranking near the top may increase psychological pressure and reduce performance. We empirically study the impact of interim rank on performance using data from international diving tournaments. We find that competitors systematically underperform when ranked closer to the top, despite higher incentives to perform well.

Suggested Citation

  • Eleni Garbi & Christos Genakos & Mario Pagliero, 2015. "When Pressure Sinks Performance: Evidence from Diving Competitions," CEP Discussion Papers dp1345, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1345
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christos Genakos & Mario Pagliero, 2012. "Interim Rank, Risk Taking, and Performance in Dynamic Tournaments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 782-813.
    2. Jose Apesteguia & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2010. "Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2548-2564, December.
    3. Dohmen, Thomas J., 2008. "Do professionals choke under pressure?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 636-653, March.
    4. Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2009. "Large Stakes and Big Mistakes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 451-469.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bar-Eli, Michael & Krumer, Alex & Morgulev, Elia, 2020. "Ask not what economics can do for sports - Ask what sports can do for economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    2. Harb-Wu, Ken & Krumer, Alex, 2019. "Choking under pressure in front of a supportive audience: Evidence from professional biathlon," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 246-262.
    3. Dainis Zegners & Uwe Sunde & Anthony Strittmatter, 2020. "Decisions and Performance Under Bounded Rationality: A Computational Benchmarking Approach," Papers 2005.12638, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2020.
    4. González-Díaz, Julio & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2016. "Cognitive performance in competitive environments: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 40-52.
    5. Bernd Frick, 2021. "Gender Differences in Risk-Taking and Sensation-Seeking Behavior: Empirical Evidence from “ExtremeSports”," De Economist, Springer, vol. 169(1), pages 5-20, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Graff, Frederik & Grund, Christian & Harbring, Christine, 2021. "Competing on the Holodeck - The effect of virtual peers and heterogeneity in dynamic tournaments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    8. 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.
    9. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Krumer, Alex & Shapir, Offer Moshe, 2018. "Testing the effect of serve order in tennis tiebreak," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 106-115.
    10. Hendrik Sonnabend, 2020. "On discouraging environments in team contests: Evidence from top‐level beach volleyball," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 41(6), pages 986-997, September.
    11. Iqbal, Hamzah & Krumer, Alex, 2019. "Discouragement effect and intermediate prizes in multi-stage contests: Evidence from Davis Cup," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 364-381.
    12. Daniel C. Hickman & Craig Kerr & Neil Metz, 2019. "Rank and Performance in Dynamic Tournaments: Evidence From the PGA Tour," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 20(4), pages 509-534, May.
    13. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Krumer, Alex & Shapir, Offer Moshe, 2017. "Take a Chance on ABBA," IZA Discussion Papers 10878, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Tom P. Vandebroek & Brian T. McCann & Govert Vroom, 2018. "Modeling the Effects of Psychological Pressure on First-Mover Advantage in Competitive Interactions," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 19(5), pages 725-754, June.
    15. Krumer, Alex & Lechner, Michael, 2017. "First in first win: Evidence on schedule effects in round-robin tournaments in mega-events," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 412-427.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tournaments; incentives; choking under pressure;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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