Overconfidence vs. Market Efficiency in the National Football League
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School
Richard H. Thaler
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
NBER Working Paper No. w11270
A question of increasing interest to researchers in a variety of fields is whether the incentives and experience present in many "real world" settings mitigate judgment and decision-making biases. To investigate this question, we analyze the decision making of National Football League teams during their annual player draft. This is a domain in which incentives are exceedingly high and the opportunities for learning rich. It is also a domain in which multiple psychological factors suggest teams may overvalue the "right to choose" in the draft -- non-regressive predictions, overconfidence, the winner's curse and false consensus all suggest a bias in this direction. Using archival data on draft-day trades, player performance and compensation, we compare the market value of draft picks with the historical value of drafted players. We find that top draft picks are overvalued in a manner that is inconsistent with rational expectations and efficient markets and consistent with psychological research.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 63
Date posted: May 31, 2005