Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Agency Problem

If you accept that an awful lot of great players in tennis are jerks, especially when they are young (ages 6-17), then why would the USTA's national and regional coaches value "attitude" and "coachability" highly in selecting juniors for national and regional training center sessions? A positive attitude is at best not correlated with future skill at all and at worst it's negatively correlated (bad attitude >> good player). So why use such a bad metric? Because nice, coachable kids are better for the coaches. Who wants to work with jackasses?

Time and time again we find professions set up for the professionals. Ever make your doctor wait in a waiting room until you're ready to see him?

In economics this is called the Agency Problem. The interests of the two parties are not aligned. The USTA has a goal (producing champions). To achieve the goal it hires coaches (agents). The coaches actions benefit them, not the USTA. Agency problem.

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