Monday, March 16, 2009

C'mon Frenchie, get it straight

So I'm reading this post in the FT and it says:

"An example from football, provided by James Montier of Société Générale, tells the story. When a goalkeeper tries to save a penalty, he almost invariably dives either to the right or the left. He will stay in the centre only 6.3 per cent of the time.

However, the penalty taker is just as likely (28.7 per cent of the time) to blast the ball straight in front of him as to hit it to the right or left. Thus goalkeepers, to play the percentages, should stay where they are about a third of the time. They would make more saves. Why don’t they? Because it is more embarrassing to stand there and watch the ball hit the back of the net than to do something (such as dive to the right) and watch the ball hit the back of the net. The results are the same but those who tried to be active feel happier. "

So I say to myself, "I remember that my boys Levitt and Groseclose have a paper on this and that's not how I remember the story". Then I google them and find this:

"There is one big deviation that we see between what players actually do and what the theory predicts: kickers kick the ball right down the middle much less than they should. Or put another way, in practice, kicking it down the middle scores at a higher rate than kicking it either to the left or right (at least in our data set).

Why? If you kick it right down the middle and you don’t score, it is damn embarrassing. So even though the middle is a great play statistically, kickers don’t choose it very often. There are some things that are even more important than winning, like not looking like a fool."

So my question is this: is it plagiarism if you get the story wrong??

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, given the facts stated, both the goalie and the kicker could do better by playing the middle. (I actually think Montier's version makes more sense.)

And from now on, I expect you to cite sources every time you tell someone a cute anecdote. Including the one about the rabbi who tried pork.