Date of Award

8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Economics

Committee Member

Dr. Raymond Sauer, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Scott Templeton

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Fleck

Abstract

The focus of this paper is to summarize the economic literature of the hot hand phenomenon in basketball while adding in another study of my own. By using recent NBA statistical data, I will show the advancement and evolution of this widely held public belief that a certain number of makes or misses can alter the chances of the next attempt's success or failure. I start by recreating part of Gilovich, Valone, and Tversky's (1985) experiments with a larger set of data and finish by introducing Miller and Sanjurjo's fix to their method's biases(2015). The major finding is when a three and an eight percentage point correction for the bias from Miller and Sanjurjo's calculations are applied to my data set as well as many other studies, that a hot hand effect starts to surface more frequently. This important correction allows us to flip the hot hand myth from a "cognitive illusion" to a potentially significant effect on gameplay.

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