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Expectations as Reference Points: Field Evidence from Professional Soccer

Björn Bartling, Leif Brandes () and Daniel Schunk ()

No 1405, Working Papers from Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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, significantly 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 significantly 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 findings do not simply reflect fully rational responses to referencedependent incentive schemes of favorite teams 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.

Keywords: reference points; expectations; experience; high stakes; competition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C23 D03 D81 D84 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 46 pages
Date: 2014-04-17, Revised 2014-04-17
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-hrm and nep-spo
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (24) Track citations by RSS feed

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https://download.uni-mainz.de/RePEc/pdf/Discussion_Paper_1405.pdf First version, 2014 (application/pdf)

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Journal Article: Expectations as Reference Points: Field Evidence from Professional Soccer (2015) Downloads
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