Professor of Entrepreneurship
Games; Sports; Cognitive Heuristics; Decision Making; Linear Regression Analysis; Gambling; Law Enforcement; Behavioral Economics
Rules regulate behavior, but in competitive contexts they also create incentives for rule-breaking because enforcement is imperfect. Sports is a prime example of this, and one that lends itself well to investigation because strategic rule-breaking is often measurable.Professional soccer is a highly competitive team sport with economic rewards for winning given to teams and players. It has a set of rules to ensure fair play, but the enforcement is incomplete, and hence can lead to strategic behavior.Using newly available data, the authors examine strategic time-wasting, a behavior that help teams win games, or tie games against superior opponents, but is contrary to the objective of game play as entertainment for the spectators. They demonstrate that strategic time-wasting is widespread and is done through delayed restart of the game after goalie capture of the ball, goal kick, throw-in, free kick, corner kick, and substitution. The strategic time-wasting has substantial magnitude, and models of the value per minute predict time-wasting well. Because this time-wasting is a result of incentives created by not stopping the game clock, the authors predict that a change to rules with stopped game clock when the play is stopped would make game play more time efficient.