Does Losing Lead to Winning? An Empirical Analysis for Four Sports

62 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2020 Last revised: 24 May 2021

See all articles by Bouke Klein Teeselink

Bouke Klein Teeselink

Yale School of Management

Martijn J. van den Assem

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Dennie van Dolder

VU Amsterdam - School of Business and Economics; Tinbergen Institute; Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) - University of Nottingham

Date Written: May 20, 2021

Abstract

Berger and Pope (2011) show that being slightly behind increases the likelihood of winning in professional and collegiate basketball. We extend their analysis to large samples of Australian football, American football, and rugby matches, but find no evidence of such an effect for these three sports. When we revisit the phenomenon for basketball, we only find supportive evidence for National Basketball Association (NBA) matches from the period analyzed in Berger and Pope. There is no significant effect for NBA matches from outside this sample period, for collegiate matches, or for matches from the Women's NBA. High-powered meta-analyses across the different sports and competitions do not reject the null hypothesis of no effect of being slightly behind on winning. The confidence intervals suggest that the true effect, if existent at all, is likely relatively small.

Keywords: competition, sports, motivation, performance, regression discontinuity

JEL Classification: D01, D91, Z20

Suggested Citation

Klein Teeselink, Bouke and van den Assem, Martijn J. and van Dolder, Dennie, Does Losing Lead to Winning? An Empirical Analysis for Four Sports (May 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3669174 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3669174

Bouke Klein Teeselink (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Ave
New Haven, CT 06511

Martijn J. Van den Assem

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Dennie Van Dolder

VU Amsterdam - School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) - University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

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