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Envy and Compassion in Tournaments

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  • Christian Grund
  • Dirk Sliwka

Abstract

Many experiments and field studies indicate that most individuals are not purely motivated by material self-interest but also care about the well being of others. In this paper, we examine tournaments among inequity averse agents, who dislike disadvantageous inequity (envy) and advantageous inequity (compassion). It turns out that inequity averse agents exert higher efforts than purely self-interested agents for a given prize structure. Contrary to standard tournament theory, first-best efforts cannot be implemented when prizes are endogenous. Furthermore, the choice between vertical and lateral promotions is examined and it is shown that inequity costs have to be traded off against losses in human capital. Copyright Blackwell Publishing 2005.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economics & Management Strategy.

Volume (Year): 14 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 187-207

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:14:y:2005:i:1:p:187-207

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  1. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Mui, V.L., 1992. "The Economics of Envy," Papers 9306, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  4. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  5. Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Guasch, J Luis, 1988. "Heterogeneity, Tournaments, and Hierarchies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 867-81, August.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  8. Englmaier, Florian & Achim Wambach, 2003. "Contracts and Inequity Aversion," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 74, Royal Economic Society.
  9. Chan, William, 1996. "External Recruitment versus Internal Promotion," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 555-70, October.
  10. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert, 1993. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 355-365, April.
  11. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  12. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Stark, Oded, 1990. "A Relative Deprivation Approach to Performance Incentives in Career Games and Other Contests," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 211-27.
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