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Expectations as reference points: field evidence from professional soccer


Bartling, Björn; Brandes, Leif; Schunk, Daniel (2015). Expectations as reference points: field evidence from professional soccer. Management Science, 61(11):2646-2661.

Abstract

We show that professional soccer players and their coaches 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 players breach the rules of the game, measured by the referee's assignment of cards, signifcantly more often if their teams are behind the expected match outcome, measured by pre-play betting odds of large professional bookmakers. We further show that coaches implement signifcantly more offensive substitutions if their teams are behind
expectations. Both types of behaviors impair the expected ultimate match outcome of the team, which shows that our fndings do not simply reflect fully rational responses to referencedependent incentive schemes of favorite teams to falling behind. We derive these results in a data set that contains more than 8'200 matches from 12 seasons of the German Bundesliga and 12 seasons of the English Premier League.

Abstract

We show that professional soccer players and their coaches 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 players breach the rules of the game, measured by the referee's assignment of cards, signifcantly more often if their teams are behind the expected match outcome, measured by pre-play betting odds of large professional bookmakers. We further show that coaches implement signifcantly more offensive substitutions if their teams are behind
expectations. Both types of behaviors impair the expected ultimate match outcome of the team, which shows that our fndings do not simply reflect fully rational responses to referencedependent incentive schemes of favorite teams to falling behind. We derive these results in a data set that contains more than 8'200 matches from 12 seasons of the German Bundesliga and 12 seasons of the English Premier League.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Reference points, expectations, field data
Language:English
Date:29 January 2015
Deposited On:04 Feb 2015 08:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:53
Publisher:Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science
ISSN:0025-1909
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2014.2048
Related URLs:http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-62217

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