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Gender Differences in Reaction to Psychological Pressure: Evidence from Tennis Players

Author

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  • De Paola, Maria

    () (University of Calabria)

  • Scoppa, Vincenzo

    () (University of Calabria)

Abstract

Using data on about 35,000 professional tennis matches, we test whether men and women react differently to psychological pressure arising from the outcomes of sequential stages in a competition. We show that, with respect to males, females losing the first set are much more likely to play poorly the second set, choking under the pressure of falling behind and receiving negative feedback. The gender differential is stronger in high stakes matches. On the other hand, when players are tied in the third set we do not find any gender difference in players' reactions: this suggests that females do not tend to choke if they do not lag behind. These results are robust controlling for measures of abilities and fitness of players, such as players' rankings, players' ex-ante winning probability, players' rest, players' and tournaments' fixed effects.

Suggested Citation

  • De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2015. "Gender Differences in Reaction to Psychological Pressure: Evidence from Tennis Players," IZA Discussion Papers 9315, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9315
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Krumer, Alex & Rosenboim, Mosi & Shapir, Offer Moshe, 2017. "Choking under pressure and gender: Evidence from professional tennis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 176-190.
    2. Viktor Bozhinov & Nora Grote, 2019. "Performance under Pressure on the Court: Evidence from Professional Volleyball," Working Papers 1901, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    3. Thomas Buser & Huaiping Yuan, 2016. "Do Women give up Competing more easily? Evidence from the Lab and the Dutch Math Olympiad," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-096/I, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    choking under pressure; psychological pressure; gender differences; feedback; tennis;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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