nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2020‒08‒31
three papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  2. Psychological pressure and the right to determine the moves in dynamic tournaments – Evidence from a natural field experiment By Mark Kassis; Sascha L. Schmidt; Dominik Schreyer; Matthias Sutter
  3. Choosing Opponents in Ski-Sprint Elimination Tournaments By Karlsson, Niklas; Lunander, Anders

  1. By: Vincenzo Scoppa (Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF, Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: Social pressure may have relevant consequences in many contexts but it is hard to evaluate it empirically. In this paper we exploit a natural experiment in soccer to provide clear evidence of its effects. We aim to study how social pressure from the crowd in a stadium affects both players and referees. While in normal matches crowd support may be correlated to a host of variables affecting the outcome of interest, we exploit the fact that after the health emergency for the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, soccer matches in top European Leagues have been allowed only behind closed doors, that is, without spectators in the stadiums. We use data of first and second division of 5 major European Leagues (Germany, Spain, England, Italy and Portugal) for the last 10 championships and compare several outcomes (determined by players’ performance and referees’ decisions) of matches played with crowd support to the same outcomes when matches were played without crowd. We find considerable effects of the pressure from the crowd: while with the support of the crowd a considerable home advantage emerges in various measures of performance (points, goals, shots, etc.), this advantage is almost halved when matches are behind closed doors. Similar effects are found for the behavior of referees: decisions of fouls, yellow cards, red cards and penalties that tend to favor home teams in normal matches, are much more balanced without crowd pressing on referees. The evidence we provide strongly supports the idea that social pressure has intense effects on agents’ behavior.
    Keywords: Social Pressure, Crowd Support, Emotional Factors, Social Approval, Performance, Home Advantage, Referee’s Favoritism
    JEL: D91 M50 L83 Z2
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Mark Kassis (Center for Sports and Management (CSM), WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Erkrather Str. 224a, 40233, Düsseldorf, Germany); Sascha L. Schmidt (Center for Sports and Management (CSM), WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Erkrather Str. 224a, 40233, Düsseldorf, Germany); Dominik Schreyer (Center for Sports and Management (CSM), WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Erkrather Str. 224a, 40233, Düsseldorf, Germany); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Kurt-Schumacher-Straße 10, 53113 Bonn, Germany; University of Cologne and University of Innsbruck)
    Abstract: In this paper, we show that the right to determine the sequence of moves in a dynamic team tournament improves the chances of winning the contest. Because studying dynamic team tournaments – like R&D races – with interim feedback is difficult with company data, we examine decisions of highly paid professionals in soccer penalty shootouts and show that teams whose captains can decide about the shooting sequence are more likely to win the shootout. So, managerial decisions matter for outcomes of dynamic tournaments and we discuss potential reasons for this finding.
    Keywords: Dynamic tournament, sports professionals, psychological pressure, value of decision rights, penalty shoot-outs, behavioral economics
    JEL: C93 D00 D81 D91 Z20
    Date: 2020–08
  3. By: Karlsson, Niklas (Örebro University School of Business); Lunander, Anders (Örebro University School of Business)
    Abstract: In this study we analyze data from world cup cross country ski-sprint elimination tournaments for men and women in 2015-2020 where prequalified athletes, instead of being assigned a quarterfinal through a seeding scheme, choose themselves, in sequential order, in which of five quarterfinal to compete. Due to a time constraint on the day a competition is held, the recovery time between the knockout heats varies, implying a clear advantage for the athlete to race in one of the two earlier rather in the two later quarterfinals. We find empirical support for the prediction that higher ranked athletes prefer to compete in the earlier rather than later quarterfinals, despite the expected harder competition. Also, our results suggest that athletes underestimate the value of choosing an early quarterfinal. Based on our estimates, we propose a seeding scheme capturing the fundamental disparity across quarterfinals.
    Keywords: ski sprint; seeding; knock-out tournaments; choosing opponents
    JEL: C51 C72 Z20
    Date: 2020–08–11

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