Incentives in Best of N Contests: Quasi-Simpson's Paradox in Tennis

Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport 13(3), 790-802 (2013)

13 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2014

See all articles by Benjamin Wright

Benjamin Wright

Indiana University Bloomington

Ryan M. Rodenberg

Florida State University - College of Education; Florida State University - College of Law

Jeff Sackmann

Independent

Date Written: Novmember 6, 2013

Abstract

Simpson’s Paradox is a statistical quirk where an apparent correlation of variables is reversed when the variables are combined. We investigate tennis’ unique “best of N” scoring system for evidence of Simpson’s Paradox among certain players who win more points than their opponent but lose the overall match. Using data from more than 61,000 professional tennis matches over the course of 21 years, we find about 4.5% of matches exhibit such characteristics, providing insight into incentive effects derived from tennis’ scoring system, (sub-)conscious strategic decisions by players, and player-level traits that may be relevant to match outcomes. Practical implications in connection with sport integrity and narrow aspects of the sports gambling market are also discussed.

JEL Classification: L83

Suggested Citation

Wright, Benjamin and Rodenberg, Ryan M. and Sackmann, Jeff, Incentives in Best of N Contests: Quasi-Simpson's Paradox in Tennis (Novmember 6, 2013). Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport 13(3), 790-802 (2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2447038

Benjamin Wright

Indiana University Bloomington ( email )

Dept of Biology
100 South Indiana Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Ryan M. Rodenberg (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Education ( email )

Tully Gym 1002
1114 W. Call Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4450
United States
850-645-9535 (Phone)
850-644-0974 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://education.fsu.edu/faculty-and-staff/dr-ryan-rodenberg

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States
850-645-9535 (Phone)
850-644-0974 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://education.fsu.edu/faculty-and-staff/dr-ryan-rodenberg

Jeff Sackmann

Independent ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
187
Abstract Views
933
rank
198,351
PlumX Metrics