The Dynamics of Inattention in the (Baseball) Field

39 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2021

See all articles by James Archsmith

James Archsmith

University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Anthony G. Heyes

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics

Matthew Neidell

Columbia University; University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Bhaven N. Sampat

Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health

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Abstract

Recent theoretical and empirical work characterizes attention as a limited resource that decision-makers strategically allocate. There has been less research on the dynamic interdependence of attention: how paying attention now may affect performance later. In this paper, we exploit high-frequency data on decision-making by Major League Baseball umpires to examine this. We find that umpires not only apply greater effort to higher-stakes decisions, but also that effort applied to earlier decisions increases errors later. These findings are consistent with the umpire having a depletable 'budget' of attention. There is no such dynamic interdependence after breaks during the game (at the end of each inning) suggesting that even short rest periods can replenish attention budgets. We also find that an expectation of higher stakes future decisions leads to reduced attention to current decisions, consistent with forward-looking behavior by umpires aware of attention scarcity.

JEL Classification: D83, D91

Suggested Citation

Archsmith, James and Heyes, Anthony and Neidell, Matthew and Sampat, Bhaven N., The Dynamics of Inattention in the (Baseball) Field. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14440, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3865465

James Archsmith (Contact Author)

University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://econjim.com

Anthony Heyes

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics ( email )

Royal Holloway College
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United Kingdom
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Matthew Neidell

Columbia University ( email )

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University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES ( email )

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

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United States

Bhaven N. Sampat

Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health ( email )

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New York, NY 10032
United States

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