On the Optimality of Line Call Challenges in Professional Tennis

25 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2012

See all articles by Ran Abramitzky

Ran Abramitzky

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Liran Einav

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Shimon Kolkowitz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Roy Mill

Stanford University

Date Written: August 2012

Abstract

We study professional tennis players’ decisions of whether to challenge umpires’ calls using data on over 2,000 challenges in 35 tennis tournaments. The decision to challenge, which is simple to characterize, trades off reversing the umpire’s call against losing subsequent challenge opportunities. Qualitatively, players are more likely to challenge when the stakes are greater and when the option value of challenging is lower, as theory predicts. Quantitatively, players’ actual behavior is close to an optimal challenging strategy prescribed by a simple dynamic model. Our findings illustrate that professional decision makers develop decision rules that can approximate optimal behavior quite well.

Suggested Citation

Abramitzky, Ran and Einav, Liran and Kolkowitz, Shimon and Mill, Roy, On the Optimality of Line Call Challenges in Professional Tennis (August 2012). International Economic Review, Vol. 53, Issue 3, pp. 939-964, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2118394 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2012.00706.x

Ran Abramitzky (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Liran Einav

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-723-3704 (Phone)
928-223-4973 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Shimon Kolkowitz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Roy Mill

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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