General Ability and Predictability: Evidence from Penalty Kicks in Soccer
21 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2008
Date Written: December 10, 2008
This paper revisits the classic 2x2 penalty-kick, zero-sum game which exhibits an equilibrium only in mixed strategies. We show that (i) a kicker's general ability is a reliable indicator of his success rate, (ii) kickers' predictability, i.e. the extent to which probability is concentrated on one of the two actions, increases with the kicker's general ability, and (iii) kickers belonging to the minority type are characterized by a higher success rate. Consequently, we establish that kickers with a high general ability are more predictable. This predictability, however, has no adverse effects on the success rates of these kickers. All the theoretical predictions are in line with empirical evidence we provide from the German national soccer league.
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