Expectations as Reference Points: Field Evidence from Experienced Subjects in a Competitive, High-Stakes Environment

21 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2012

See all articles by Björn Bartling

Björn Bartling

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Leif Brandes

University of Lucerne

Daniel Schunk

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Gutenberg School of Economics and Management; University of Zurich - Department of Economics

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Date Written: May 31, 2012

Abstract

We show that professional soccer players 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 a player breaches the rules of the game, measured by the referee’s assignment of cards, with a significantly higher probability if his team is behind the expected match outcome, measured by pre-play betting odds of large professional bookmakers. We derive these results in two independent data sets, one from ten seasons of the German Bundesliga, the other from eight seasons the English Premier League, each with more than half a million minutes of play.

Keywords: reference points, expectations, experience, high stakes, competition

JEL Classification: D030, D810, D840, L830

Suggested Citation

Bartling, Björn and Brandes, Leif and Schunk, Daniel, Expectations as Reference Points: Field Evidence from Experienced Subjects in a Competitive, High-Stakes Environment (May 31, 2012). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3830, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2084067

Björn Bartling

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Leif Brandes

University of Lucerne ( email )

Lucerne
Switzerland

Daniel Schunk (Contact Author)

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Gutenberg School of Economics and Management ( email )

Mainz
Germany

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Bluemlisalpstr. 10
Zurich, 8006
Switzerland

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