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Psychological pressure in competitive environments: New evidence from randomized natural experiments

  • Kocher, Martin G.
  • Lenz, Marc V.
  • Sutter, Matthias

Dynamic competitive settings may create psychological pressure when feedback about the performance of competitors is provided before the end of the competition. Such psychological pressure could produce a first-mover advantage, despite a priori equal winning probabilities. Using data from a randomized natural experiment-penalty shootouts in soccer-we reexamine evidence by Apesteguia and Palacios-Huerta [Apesteguia J, Palacios-Huerta I (2010) Psychological pressure in competitive environments: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment. Amer. Econom. Rev. 100(5):2548-2564]. They report a 21-percentage-point advantage for first movers over second movers in terms of winning probabilities. Extending their sample of 129 shootouts to 540, we fail to detect any significant first-mover advantage. Our results are fully consistent with recent evidence from other sports contests.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 18160.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Publication status: Published in Management Science 8 58(2012-08): pp. 1585-1591
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:18160
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  1. Jose Apesteguia & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2008. "Psychological pressure in competitive environments: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Economics Working Papers 1116, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & David H. Reiley, 2010. "What Happens in the Field Stays in the Field: Exploring Whether Professionals Play Minimax in Laboratory Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1413-1434, 07.
  3. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  4. Dohmen, Thomas J., 2008. "Do professionals choke under pressure?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 636-653, March.
  5. Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2009. "Large Stakes and Big Mistakes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 451-469.
  6. 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.
  7. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, . "Experientia Docet: Professionals Play Minimax In Laboratory Experiments," Economic theory and game theory 019, Oscar Volij.
  8. Victoria Prowse & David Gill, 2009. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," Economics Series Working Papers 448, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. David Reiley & John List & Steven Levitt, 2010. "What happens in the field stays in the field: Professionals do not play minimax in laboratory experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00080, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Walker, Mark & Wooders, John & Amir, Rabah, 2011. "Equilibrium play in matches: Binary Markov games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 487-502, March.
  11. repec:feb:artefa:0094 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. John Wooders, 2010. "Does Experience Teach? Professionals and Minimax Play in the Lab," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 1143-1154, 05.
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