Is There No 'I' in Team? Strategic Effects in Multi-Battle Team Competition


Individuals may respond differently to their own past performance than to their teammates’ performance in a multi-battle competition. Using field data from professional squash team tournaments, we show that while previous individual success begets more success, teammates’ past performance has little impact on players’ immediate and overall battle performance. It could be argued that players follow the heuristic of doing their best for their teams while at the same time succumbing to a psychological momentum effect, which suggests that responses to their own previous performance depend on the full history of previous battle outcomes. Our analysis, however, cannot reject that players are motivated by a strategic momentum effect, which predicts that responses only depend on the current state of battle outcomes irrespective of its precise realization in history.

Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 75, Part B, December 2019, 102070
Lingbo Huang
Lingbo Huang
Professor of Economics