Gender Differences in Reaction to Psychological Pressure: Evidence from Tennis Players

21 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2015

See all articles by Maria De Paola

Maria De Paola

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Abstract

Using data on about 35,000 professional tennis matches, we test whether men and women react differently to psychological pressure arising from the outcomes of sequential stages in a competition. We show that, with respect to males, females losing the first set are much more likely to play poorly the second set, choking under the pressure of falling behind and receiving negative feedback. The gender differential is stronger in high stakes matches. On the other hand, when players are tied in the third set we do not find any gender difference in players' reactions: this suggests that females do not tend to choke if they do not lag behind. These results are robust controlling for measures of abilities and fitness of players, such as players' rankings, players' ex-ante winning probability, players' rest, players' and tournaments' fixed effects.

Keywords: gender differences, psychological pressure, choking under pressure, feedback, tennis

JEL Classification: J16, D03, L83

Suggested Citation

De Paola, Maria and Scoppa, Vincenzo, Gender Differences in Reaction to Psychological Pressure: Evidence from Tennis Players. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9315. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655355

Maria De Paola (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

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