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Do the 'Three-Point Victory' and 'Golden Goal' Rules Make Soccer More Exciting? A Theoretical Analysis of a Simple Game

  • Brocas, Isabelle
  • Carrillo, Juan D

This note argues that a rigorous application of simple game theory may provide unambiguous yet non-trivial theoretical insights about the behaviour of players in simple games. This contrasts with a commonly held view that many predictions in applied game theory are either obvious or inconclusive. To illustrate our point, we analyse the merits of two controversial changes in soccer rules, namely the ‘three-point victory’ and the ‘golden goal’. Starting from standard premises, we present some original conclusions that are neither trivial nor the result of a twisted argument. We feel that soccer is a particularly good example for our exercise due to the simplicity of its main rules, but also to the proliferation of ad-hoc reasoning among soccer fans.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3266.

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Date of creation: Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3266
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  1. Frederic Palomino & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Skill, Strategy, and Passion: an Empirical Analysis of Soccer," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1822, Econometric Society.
  2. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  3. P.-A. Chiappori, 2002. "Testing Mixed-Strategy Equilibria When Players Are Heterogeneous: The Case of Penalty Kicks in Soccer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1138-1151, September.
  4. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "Professionals Play Minimax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 395-415.
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