Are the highest performers the most impressive?

Denrell, Jerker (2011) Are the highest performers the most impressive? In: Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision Making (SPUDM), August 2011, Kingston, UK.

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Abstract

The relation between performance and ability is a central concern in discussions of imitation and learning - should we imitate and learn from the highest performers? Past research has shown how rich-get-richer dynamics, combined with noise, can produce a weak or even non-existent association
between performance and ability. Still, if performance and ability are positively correlated, it makes sense to imitate the highest performers. Using a simple formal model we show that noise can lead to a more counter-intuitive e�ffect: performance and ability can be negatively associated for high levels of performance. The implication is that the highest performers are not the most impressive - instead, agents with moderately high performance are expected to
have the highest ability. Our model o�ers an alternative explanation for why exceptional performance seldom lasts and suggests that people who assume that higher performers are better may systematically mistake luck for skill.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Performance; Ability; Models
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Centre: Faculty of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2012 21:49
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:06
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/2407

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