Raja Kali, David Pastoriza, and Jean-François Plante
In an environment in which elite, highly paid professionals compete for nonmonetary rewards, we find evidence of underperformance. Our analysis suggests that choking under pressure from high-stakes nonmonetary rewards is behind the underperformance. This implies that high stakes nonmonetary rewards can create meaningful pressure on individuals and lead to worse performance, a distinct issue that has yet to be adequately examined. These findings come from an examination of the behavior of top U.S. golfers competing to earn a place on the U.S. Ryder Cup team via their performance in PGA Tour tournaments with differing allocations of Ryder Cup qualifying points.