Sticking with What (Barely) Worked

35 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2011

See all articles by Lars Lefgren

Lars Lefgren

Brigham Young University

Brennan C Platt

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2011

Abstract

Outcome bias occurs when an evaluator considers ex-post outcomes when judging whether a choice was correct, ex-ante. We formalize this cognitive bias in a simple model of distorted Bayesian updating. We then examine strategy changes made by professional football coaches. We find they are more likely to revise their strategy after a loss than a win -- even for narrow losses, which are uninformative about future success. This increased revision following a loss occurs even when a loss was expected, and the offensive strategy is revised even when failure is attributable to the defense. These results are consistent with our model's predictions.

Suggested Citation

Lefgren, Lars and Platt, Brennan C and Price, Joseph, Sticking with What (Barely) Worked (October 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17477, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1940324

Lars Lefgren (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University ( email )

130 Faculty Office Bldg.
Provo, UT 84602-2363
United States

Brennan C Platt

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics ( email )

130 Faculty Office Bldg.
Provo, UT 84602-2363
United States
801-422-8904 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.byu.edu

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University ( email )

130 FOB
Provo, UT 84604
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://economics.byu.edu/directory/joseph-p-price

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