Early Round Upsets and Championship Blowouts

14 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2006

See all articles by Rick Harbaugh

Rick Harbaugh

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy; Indiana University - Department of Economics

Tilman Klumpp

University of Alberta, Department of Economics

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Abstract

In equilibrium play of a two-round tournament, we find that underdogs exert more effort in the opening round whereas favorites save more effort for the final. Ability differences are therefore compressed in the opening round so upsets are more likely and amplified in the final so blowouts are more likely. Measures that reduce the need to strategically allocate effort make for a more exciting final but a less exciting opening round. Consistent with the model, introduction of a rest day between matches in the NCAA men`s basketball tournament increased the favorite`s victory margin in the semifinals by about five points.(JEL L83, D72)

Suggested Citation

Harbaugh, Rick and Klumpp, Tilman, Early Round Upsets and Championship Blowouts. Economic Inquiry, Vol. 43, Issue 2, pp. 316-329, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=906235

Rick Harbaugh (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
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HOME PAGE: http://www.bus.indiana.edu/riharbau/

Indiana University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wylie Hall
Bloomington, IN 47405-6620
United States

Tilman Klumpp

University of Alberta, Department of Economics ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R3
Canada

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