The Penalty-Duel and Institutional Design: Is There a Neeskens-Effect?

23 Pages Posted: 31 May 2007

See all articles by Wolfgang Leininger

Wolfgang Leininger

University of Dortmund - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Axel Ockenfels

University of Cologne - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: January 2008

Abstract

We document an increase in the scoring probability from penalties in soccer, which separates the time period before 1974 significantly from that after 1976: the scoring probability increased by 11%. We explain this finding by arguing that the institution of penalty-shooting before 1974 is best described as a standard of behaviour for striker and goal-keeper, which in game-theoretic terms represents a 2x2-game. In contrast to this, after 1976 the institution of the penalty-duel is best described by a 3x3 game form constrained by certain behavioural rules. Those rules can be parameterized by a single parameter, which nevertheless allows the theoretical reproduction (and hence explanation) of all the empirically documented regularities. The scoring probability in equilibrium of the latter institution is higher than in the former one. We present historical evidence to the effect, that this change in the perception of penalty-duels (as two different games), was caused by Johan Neeskens' shrewd and revolutionary penalty-taking during World-Cup 1974, when he shot a penalty in the first minute of the final between Germany and the Netherlands right into the middle of the goalmouth.

Keywords: Professional soccer, mixed strategy equilibrium, institutional design, soccer, game theory, sports

JEL Classification: D01, C72, D74, C93, C70, L83

Suggested Citation

Leininger, Wolfgang and Ockenfels, Axel, The Penalty-Duel and Institutional Design: Is There a Neeskens-Effect? (January 2008). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2187, Ruhr Economic Paper No. 4, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=988698

Wolfgang Leininger (Contact Author)

University of Dortmund - Department of Economics ( email )

D-44221 Dortmund
Germany
+49 231 755 3297 (Phone)
+49 231 755 3027 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Axel Ockenfels

University of Cologne - Department of Economics ( email )

Albertus Magnus Platz
Cologne 50923
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://ockenfels.uni-koeln.de/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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