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Levitt -- and Wenger -- On Penalties

Marginal Revolution picks up the Steve Levitt story (below) from Old Fishinghat, and quotes this passage on sports:


"In Europe, Levitt is feted as one of the authors of the "penalty-kick paper". Probably only a trio of economists would have watched videos of 459 penalties taken in the French and Italian football leagues. The authors were testing a complex point of game theory. What they found was that the best place to put a penalty was the middle of the goal, largely because goalkeepers always dive. Yet few penalty-takers actually choose the middle. "I think one reason people don't is that it's just incredibly humiliating to a kicker if he kicks in the middle and doesn't score," guesses Levitt."


I mentioned in a post below that Arsenal's manager shares an economics degree and an intellectual approach to his game with the Patriot's Bill Belichick.

There may even be a tighter analogy:

Patriot Manger Bill Belichick - Economist David (4th down) Romer


Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger - Economist Steve (down the middle) Levitt

Consider this:

Last September, in the 80th minute of a 2-2 game, Arsenal's Thierry Henry stepped into the pressure cooker to take a penalty, and calmly chipped the ball down the middle. 3-2 to the Gunners.

Nice time to pull the ace out of your sleeve.

Click here for a picture of the soft little chip that won the game.

Just in case you want text too, here is the recap from the BBC.