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Personal Bests as Reference Points

21 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2017 Last revised: 21 Apr 2017

Ashton Anderson

Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research, New York City

Etan A. Green

Wharton - Operations, Information and Decisions

Date Written: April 19, 2017

Abstract

Personal bests act as reference points. Examining 133 million chess games, we find that players exert effort to set new personal-best ratings and quit once they have done so. Though specific and difficult goals have been shown to inspire greater motivation than vague pronouncements to “do your best,” doing one’s best can be a specific and difficult goal — and as we show, motivates in a manner predicted by loss aversion.

Keywords: Reference Points, Loss Aversion, Personal Bests, Field Data

JEL Classification: D80, D83

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Ashton and Green, Etan A., Personal Bests as Reference Points (April 19, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2953340

Ashton Anderson

Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research, New York City ( email )

641 Avenue of Americas
New York, NY 10011
United States

Etan Green (Contact Author)

Wharton - Operations, Information and Decisions ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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