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Expectations as reference points: field evidence from experienced subjects in a competitive, high-stakes environment

  • Björn Bartling
  • Leif Brandes
  • Daniel Schunk

We show that professional soccer players 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 a player breaches the rules of the game, measured by the referee’s assignment of cards, with a significantly higher probability if his team is behind the expected match outcome, measured by pre-play betting odds of large professional bookmakers. We derive these results in two independent data sets, one from ten seasons of the German Bundesliga, the other from eight seasons the English Premier League, each with more than half a million minutes of play.

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File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp073.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 073.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:073
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  1. David Card & Gordon Dahl, 2009. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," NBER Working Papers 15497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Price, Joseph & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," CEPR Discussion Papers 6369, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Kocher, Martin G. & Lenz, Marc V. & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "Psychological pressure in competitive environments: New evidence from randomized natural experiments," Munich Reprints in Economics 18160, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Crawford, Vincent P. & Meng, Juanjuan, 2008. "New York City Cabdrivers' Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependence Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt94w5n6j9, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  6. Johannes Abeler & Armin Falk & Lorenz Götte & David Huffman, 2009. "Reference Points and Effort Provision," CESifo Working Paper Series 2585, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2011. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," Discussion Papers 2011001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  8. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  9. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Canice Prendergast, 2005. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 208-216, May.
  10. Dohmen, Thomas J., 2008. "Do professionals choke under pressure?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 636-653, March.
  11. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher, . "Favoritism of agents – The case of referees’ home bias," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-28, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  12. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Müller & Philipp Weinschenk, 2010. "Binary Payment Schemes: Moral Hazard and Loss Aversion," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_38, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  13. Syngjoo Choi & Raymond Fisman & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2007. "Consistency and Heterogeneity of Individual Behavior under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1921-1938, December.
  14. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
  15. Ockenfels, Axel & Sliwka, Dirk & Werner, Peter, 2010. "Bonus Payments and Reference Point Violations," IZA Discussion Papers 4795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Vincent P. Crawford & Juanjuan Meng, 2011. "New York City Cab Drivers' Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependent Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1912-32, August.
  17. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  18. Botond Kőszegi & Paul Heidhues, 2008. "Competition and Price Variation When Consumers Are Loss Averse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1245-68, September.
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