Decision Making and Underperformance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from the National Hockey League

Gueorgui Kolev, Gonçalo Pina, Federico Todeschini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


We find evidence of suboptimal decisions leading to underperformance in a policy experiment where two teams of professionals compete in a tournament (National Hockey League shootout) performing a task (penalty shot) sequentially. Before an exogenous policy change, home teams had to perform the task second in the sequence. After the policy change, home teams were given the choice to lead or to follow in the sequence. Home teams should move first only when this is optimal, and this should lead them to winning the tournament more often.We find that after given the choice, home teams most of the time choose to move first
in the sequence, and this results in a lower winning frequency for them. Contrary to what economic theory would predict, we find that an expanded choice set can lead to worse outcomes for the agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


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© 2015 The Authors Kyklos: International Review of Social Sciences Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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