Incentives, Performance and Choking in Darts


This paper examines how within-match variation in incentives affects the performance of darts players. The game of darts offers an attractive naturally occurring research setting, because performance can be observed at the individual level and without obscuring effects of risk considerations and behavior of others. We analyze four data sets covering a total of 29,381 darts matches of professional, amateur, and youth players. We find that amateur and youth players display a sizable performance decrease at decisive moments. Professional players appear less susceptible of such choking under pressure. Our results speak to a growing literature on the limits of increasing incentives as a recipe for better performance.

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization