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Kocher, Martin G.; Lenz, Marc V.; Sutter, Matthias (August 2012): Psychological pressure in competitive environments: New evidence from randomized natural experiments. In: Management Science, Vol. 58, No. 8: pp. 1585-1591

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Dynamic competitive settings may create psychological pressure when feedback about the performance of competitors is provided before the end of the competition. Such psychological pressure could produce a first-mover advantage, despite a priori equal winning probabilities. Using data from a randomized natural experiment-penalty shootouts in soccer-we reexamine evidence by Apesteguia and Palacios-Huerta [Apesteguia J, Palacios-Huerta I (2010) Psychological pressure in competitive environments: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment. Amer. Econom. Rev. 100(5):2548-2564]. They report a 21-percentage-point advantage for first movers over second movers in terms of winning probabilities. Extending their sample of 129 shootouts to 540, we fail to detect any significant first-mover advantage. Our results are fully consistent with recent evidence from other sports contests.