Joint with Rogier Potter van Loon, Martijn van den Assem and Dennie van Dolder
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization
This paper examines how within-match variation in incentives affects the performance of darts players. The game of darts offers an attractive naturally occurring research setting, because performance can be observed at the individual level and without obscuring effects of risk considerations and behavior of others. We analyze four data sets covering a total of 29,381 darts matches of professional, amateur, and youth players. We find that amateur and youth players display a sizable performance decrease at decisive moments. Professional players appear less susceptible of such choking under pressure. Our results speak to a growing literature on the limits of increasing incentives as a recipe for better performance.
Joint with Martijn van den Assem and Dennie van Dolder
R&R Management Science
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 little to no evidence of such an effect for these three sports. When we revisit the phenomenon for basketball, we do find supportive evidence for National Basketball Association (NBA) matches from the period analyzed in Berger and Pope. However, we find no significant effect for NBA matches from outside this sample period, for collegiate matches, and 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.
Joint with Matthew Jordan, Nicholas Adolph and Shane Frederick
Pharmaceutical pricing in the United States varies, and patients often do not know the out-of-pocket costs of their medications until arriving at the pharmacy to retrieve their prescriptions. In recent years, these pharmacy-counter interactions have seen the introduction of copay cards: manufacturer-issued coupons that are sent directly to pharmacies, physicians, and patients to reduce patient out-of-pocket costs. We exploit a unique data set containing transactions from ∼85 percent of all US pharmacies to estimate the causal effect of copay card discounts on pick-up rates of life-saving medications. Holding actual final price constant, we find that the presence of copay cards increases pick-up rates, providing evidence that discounts shift the demand curve itself.
Joint with Georgios Melios
Do mass mobilizations bring about social change? Prior research provides mixed findings on whether large-scale collective action helps protesters further their cause. This paper adds new evidence to this debate by investigating the causal impact of racial injustice protests on the 2020 presidential election. Following the death of G. P. Floyd Jr. on 25 May 2020, a series of Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the US. Using cross-county variation in rainfall as an exogenous source of variation in protests, we document a marked shift in support for the Democratic candidate in counties that experienced more protesting activity. As a consequence, BLM protests might have tilted the election in favor of the democratic party. We additionally document that BLM protests did not affect the overall turnout rate, which suggests that the increase in Democratic support primarily resulted from a progressive shift among undecided voters.
Joint with Martijn van den Assem, Dennie van Dolder and Jason Dana
We examine the optimality of strategic behavior in the Showcase Showdown, a high-stakes game in the American TV show The Price is Right. The Showcase Showdown is a simple sequential game with perfect information for which contestants can find the optimal strategy by backward induction. Studying contestants’ decisions over a 40 year period, we show that they often deviate from the unique subgame perfect Nash equilibrium. We find that these deviations can neither be explained by random decision errors nor by a preference for harm caused by a failure to act over the equivalent harm caused by explicit action. Instead, the observed behavior can be explained by limited foresight, where a contestant only thinks ahead to the next stage of the game.
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