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Sticking with What (Barely) Worked

Author

Listed:
  • Lars Lefgren
  • Brennan Platt
  • Joseph Price

Abstract

Outcome bias occurs when an evaluator considers ex-post outcomes when judging whether a choice was correct, ex-ante. We formalize this cognitive bias in a simple model of distorted Bayesian updating. We then examine strategy changes made by professional football coaches. We find they are more likely to revise their strategy after a loss than a win -- even for narrow losses, which are uninformative about future success. This increased revision following a loss occurs even when a loss was expected, and the offensive strategy is revised even when failure is attributable to the defense. These results are consistent with our model's predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Lefgren & Brennan Platt & Joseph Price, 2011. "Sticking with What (Barely) Worked," NBER Working Papers 17477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17477
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17477.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Card & Gordon B. Dahl, 2011. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 103-143.
    2. Earl, Peter E, 1990. "Economics and Psychology: A Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(402), pages 718-755, September.
    3. Dobbs, Ian M, 1991. "A Bayesian Approach to Decision-Making under Ambiguity," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(232), pages 417-440, November.
    4. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2001. "Are CEOs Rewarded for Luck? The Ones Without Principals Are," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 901-932.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eric J. Allen & Patricia M. Dechow & Devin G. Pope & George Wu, 2014. "Reference-Dependent Preferences: Evidence from Marathon Runners," NBER Working Papers 20343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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