NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Anne E. Preston

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Working Papers

March 2012Does March Madness Lead to Irrational Exuberance in the NBA Draft? High-Value Employee Selection Decisions and Decision-Making Bias
with Casey Ichniowski: w17928
Using a detailed personally-assembled data set on the performance of collegiate and professional basketball players over the 1997-2010 period, we conduct a very direct test of two questions. Does performance in the NCAA “March Madness” college basketball tournament affect NBA teams’ draft decisions? If so, is this effect the result of decision making biases which overweight player performance in these high-visibility college basketball games or rational judgments of how the players later perform in the NBA? The data provide very clear answers to these two questions. First, unexpected March Madness performance, in terms of unexpected team wins and unexpected player scoring, affects draft decisions. This result persists even when models control for a direct measure of the drafted player...

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