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Expectations as Reference Points: Field Evidence from Experienced Subjects in a Competitive, High-Stakes Environment

  • Björn Bartling
  • Leif Brandes
  • Daniel Schunk

We show that professional soccer players exhibit reference-dependent behavior during matches. Controlling for the state of the match and for unobserved heterogeneity, we show on a minute-by-minute basis that a player breaches the rules of the game, measured by the referee’s assignment of cards, with a significantly higher probability if his team is behind the expected match outcome, measured by pre-play betting odds of large professional bookmakers. We derive these results in two independent data sets, one from ten seasons of the German Bundesliga, the other from eight seasons the English Premier League, each with more than half a million minutes of play.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-05/cesifo1_wp3830.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3830.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3830
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  1. Card, David & Dahl, Gordon B., 2010. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 4869, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Canice Prendergast, 2005. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 208-216, May.
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  14. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Andreas Fuster, 2011. "Expectations as Endowments: Evidence on Reference-Dependent Preferences from Exchange and Valuation Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1879-1907.
  15. Kocher, Martin G. & Lenz, Marc V. & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "Psychological pressure in competitive environments: New evidence from randomized natural experiments," Munich Reprints in Economics 18160, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  16. Ockenfels, Axel & Sliwka, Dirk & Werner, Peter, 2010. "Bonus Payments and Reference Point Violations," IZA Discussion Papers 4795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  18. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
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