Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/141525
Authors: 
Houy, Nicolas
Nicolaï, Jean-Philippe
Villeval, Marie Claire
Year of Publication: 
2016
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers 9766
Abstract: 
Achieving an ambitious goal frequently requires succeeding in a sequence of intermediary tasks, some being critical for the final outcome, and others not. Individuals are not always able to provide a level of effort sufficient to guarantee success in all the intermediary tasks. The ability to manage effort throughout the sequence of tasks is therefore critical. In this paper we propose a criterion that defines the importance of a task and that identifies how an individual should optimally allocate a limited stock of exhaustible efforts over tasks. We test this importance criterion in a laboratory experiment that reproduces the main features of a tennis match. We show that our importance criterion is able to predict the individuals' performance and it outperforms the Morris importance criterion that defines the importance of a point in terms of its impact on the probability to achieve the final outcome. We also find no evidence of choking under pressure and stress, as proxied by electrophysiological measures.
Subjects: 
critical ability
choking under pressure
Morris-importance
Skin Conductance Responses
experiment
JEL: 
C72
C92
D81
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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