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What Shapes Young Elite Athletes' Perception of Chances in an Environment of Great Uncertainty?


  • Verena Jung
  • Sascha L. Schmidt
  • Benno Torgler


Unrealistic optimism is a commonly observed bias in the perception of chances. In this paper, we examine whether the bias is also present among young elite soccer players (10 to 23 years old) who receive regular objective feedback through external assessments. Utilising a large unique data set of almost 1600 individuals allows us to explore the empirical validation of the ipsative theory of human behaviour. In particular, we analyse how factors such as age or experience, education, peer group performance, and the level of integration into culture exert influence over young elite athletes’ perceived chance of becoming a professional player. Working with a homogeneous dataset of individuals possessing similar characteristics and professional goals allows us to control for and isolate (unobserved) factors that may shape perceptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Verena Jung & Sascha L. Schmidt & Benno Torgler, 2012. "What Shapes Young Elite Athletes' Perception of Chances in an Environment of Great Uncertainty?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2012-14, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2012-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Markus Schaffner & Benno Torgler, 2008. "Meet the Joneses: An Empirical Investigation of Reference Groups in Relative Income Position Comparisons," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 234, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, revised 17 Jun 2008.
    2. Sopha, Bertha Maya & Klöckner, Christian A., 2011. "Psychological factors in the diffusion of sustainable technology: A study of Norwegian households' adoption of wood pellet heating," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 2756-2765, August.
    3. Torgler, Benno & Schneider, Friedrich, 2009. "The impact of tax morale and institutional quality on the shadow economy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 228-245, April.
    4. Cramer, J. S. & Hartog, J. & Jonker, N. & Van Praag, C. M., 2002. "Low risk aversion encourages the choice for entrepreneurship: an empirical test of a truism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 29-36, May.
    5. Erik Hoelzl & Aldo Rustichini, 2005. "Overconfident: Do You Put Your Money On It?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 305-318, April.
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    More about this item


    Perception of chances; unrealistic optimism; ipsative possibility set; integration effects; soccer;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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