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Choking Under Pressure in Front of a Supportive Audience: Evidence from Professional Biathlon

Harb-Wu, Ken () and Alex Krumer ()

No 1717, Economics Working Paper Series from University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science

Abstract: Performing in front of a supportive audience increases motivation. However, it also creates a psychological pressure, which may impair performance, especially in precision tasks. In this paper we exploit a unique setting in which professionals compete in a real-life contest with high monetary rewards in order to assess how they respond to the presence of a supportive audience. Using the task of shooting in sprint competitions of professional biathlon events over the period of sixteen years, our fixed effects estimations show that high-profile biathletes miss significantly more shots when competing in front of a supportive audience. Our results are in line with the hypothesis that a friendly environment induces individuals to choke when performing skill-based tasks.

Keywords: Choking under pressure; Paradoxical performance effects on incentives; Social pressure; Biathlon; Home advantage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: M54 Z13 Z20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cta and nep-spo
Date: 2017-10
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (12) Track citations by RSS feed

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