DEFENDING AGAINST A HOT HAND. Nate Silver, in this interview with Tyler Cowen, says that new statistical evidence suggests that there is something to the hot hand theory. He refers to this paper by Jeffrey Zwiebel and Brett S. Green, business professors at Stanford and Berkeley respectively, and this article about that paper by Edmund L. Andrews.

The new research contends that hot streaks come to an end because the defense notices the hot hand and adjusts its defense to defend against it (for example, using a different defender or double teaming). The authors cite a Harvard study of 83,000 basketball shots which found that “players who had exceeded their expectations in recent shots were likely to face tighter opposition and take more difficult shots. Adjusting for the increased difficulty of the shots, the researchers found that hot players were likely to continue outperforming. The ‘hot-hand effect,’ they estimated, raised their chances of making a shot by 1.2% to 2.4%.”

The authors observe that there is less opportunity for adjustment against a hot hand in baseball. I wonder. Pitchers change their pitching pattern to a batter based on recent results all the time.

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