Replication: Do coaches stick with what barely worked? Evidence of outcome bias in sports

Abstract

We replicate the finding of Lefgren et al. (2015) showing that professional basketball coaches in the NBA discontinuously change their starting lineup more often after narrow losses than after narrow wins. This result is consistent with outcome bias because such narrow outcomes are conditionally uninformative. As our paper shows, this pattern is not restricted to the NBA; we also find evidence of outcome bias in the top women’s professional basketball league and college basketball. Finally, we show that outcome bias in coaching decisions generalizes to the National Football League (NFL). We conclude that outcome bias is credible and robust, although it has weakened over time in some instances

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