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Does Confidence Enhance Performance? Causal Evidence from Professional Biathlon

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Abstract

We analyze the e ect of self-confidence on performance using data from top-level professional biathlon competitions. Biathlon combines two independent tasks: cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. We exploit this dual nature of the sport by using weather conditions affecting performance on the skiing track as exogenous variation in confidence on the shooting range. Using round-level data on 254 competitions between 2009 and 2013, we show that the less confident athletes are, the worse their performance is on the shooting range. In particular, we estimate an increase of 0.525 standard deviations in missed shots for every standard deviation increase in our inverse self-confidence measure. E ects for women are estimated to be generally smaller in magnitude and less robust.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Ahammer & Mario Lackner & Jasmin Voigt, 2017. "Does Confidence Enhance Performance? Causal Evidence from Professional Biathlon," Economics working papers 2017-18, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2017_18
    Note: English
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    File URL: http://www.econ.jku.at/papers/2017/wp1718.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2014. "Gender differences and dynamics in competition: The role of luck," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 351-376, July.
    2. Rosenqvist, Olof & Skans, Oskar Nordström, 2015. "Confidence enhanced performance? – The causal effects of success on future performance in professional golf tournaments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 281-295.
    3. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2012. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 469-503, February.
    4. Olivier Compte & Andrew Postlewaite, 2004. "Confidence-Enhanced Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1536-1557, December.
    5. Drago, Francesco, 2011. "Self-esteem and earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 480-488, June.
    6. Livingston, Jeffrey A., 2012. "The hot hand and the cold hand in professional golf," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 172-184.
    7. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    8. Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2015. "Locus of control and the labor market," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, December.
    9. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    10. de Araujo, Pedro & Lagos, Stephen, 2013. "Self-esteem, education, and wages revisited," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 120-132.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-confidence; performance; biathlon; sports economics.;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • Z2 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics

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