by Victor A. Ginsburgh and Jan C. van Ours0
Pianists who achieve high scores in the Queen Elizabeth musical competition
are rewarded by subsequent success. This is not surprising
in itself, but it is not immediately clear whether this is caused by the
score or because those who have high scores are better pianists. Data
on eleven consecutive competitions make it possible to distinguish between
the two explanations, since an unexpected situation allows us
to use an instrumental variable (the randomly assigned order in which
musicians appear at the competition), uncorrelated with ability, but
correlated with the results of the competition.
The authors found that the order in which the contestants were scheduled to play, said order being randomly assigned, had a substantial effect on their subsequent success. This could be due to an anchoring bias, per Kahneman and Tversky.