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Expectations as Reference Points: Field Evidence from Professional Soccer

Listed author(s):
  • Bjoern Bartling

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Zurich, Swizerland)

  • Leif Brandes

    ()

    (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK)

  • Daniel Schunk

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz, Germany)

We show that professional soccer players and their coaches 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 players breach the rules of the game, measured by the referee’s assignment of cards, significantly more often if their teams are behind the expected match outcome, measured by pre-play betting odds of large professional bookmakers. We further show that coaches implement significantly more offensive substitutions if their teams are behind expectations. Both types of behaviors impair the expected ultimate match outcome of the team, which shows that our findings do not simply reflect fully rational responses to referencedependent incentive schemes of favorite teams falling behind. We derive these results in a data set that contains more than 8’200 matches from 12 seasons of the German Bundesliga and 12 seasons of the English Premier League.

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File URL: http://www.macro.economics.uni-mainz.de/RePEc/pdf/Discussion_Paper_1405.pdf
File Function: First version, 2014
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Paper provided by Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz in its series Working Papers with number 1405.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 17 Apr 2014
Date of revision: 17 Apr 2014
Handle: RePEc:jgu:wpaper:1405
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  11. 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.
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