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Always doing your best? Effort and performance in dynamic settings

Nicolas Houy (), Jean-Philippe Nicolaï () and Marie Claire Villeval ()
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Nicolas Houy: Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE, UMR 5824
Jean-Philippe Nicolaï: University of Paris Nanterre

Theory and Decision, 2020, vol. 89, issue 3, No 1, 249-286

Abstract: Abstract Achieving an ambitious goal frequently requires succeeding in a sequence of intermediate tasks, some being critical for the final outcome, and others not. However, individuals are not always able to provide a level of effort sufficient to guarantee success in all such intermediate tasks. The ability to manage effort throughout the sequence of tasks is, therefore, critical when resources are limited. In this paper, we propose a criterion of importance that is person- and context-specific, as it is based on how an individual should optimally allocate a limited stock of exhaustible efforts over tasks. We test this importance criterion in a laboratory experiment that reproduces the main features of a tennis match. We show that our importance criterion is able to predict the individuals’ performance and it outperforms the Morris-importance criterion that defines the importance of a point in terms of its impact on the probability of achieving the final outcome.

Keywords: Effort; Critical ability; Morris-importance; Choking under pressure; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Working Paper: Always doing your best? Effort and performance in dynamic settings (2020)
Working Paper: Always doing your best? Effort and performance in dynamic settings (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Always doing your best? Effort and performance in dynamic settings (2017) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1007/s11238-020-09752-6

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