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The value of commitment in contests and tournaments when observation is costly

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  • Morgan, John
  • Vardy, Felix

Abstract

We study the value of commitment in contests and tournaments when there are costs for the follower to observe the leader's behavior. In a contest, the follower can pay to observe the leader's effort but cannot observe the effectiveness of that effort. In a tournament, the follower can pay to observe the effectiveness of the leader's effort but not the effort itself. We show that this distinction matters significantly: When observation is costly, the value of commitment vanishes entirely in sequential and endogenous move contests, regardless of the size of the observation cost. By contrast, in tournaments, the value of commitment is preserved completely, provided that the observation costs are sufficiently small.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 60 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 326-338

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:60:y:2007:i:2:p:326-338

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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References

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  1. Georg Kirchsteiger & Werner Güth & Klaus Ritzberger, 1998. "Imperfectly observable commitments in n-player games," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5907, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  17. van Damme, Eric & Hurkens, Sjaak, 1997. "Games with Imperfectly Observable Commitment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 282-308, October.
  18. Gradstein, Mark, 1998. "Optimal contest design: volume and timing of rent seeking in contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 575-585, November.
  19. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  20. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
  21. V. Bhaskar, 2005. "Commitment and Observability in an Economic Environment," Economics Discussion Papers 596, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Qiang Fu & Jingfeng Lu, 2012. "Micro foundations of multi-prize lottery contests: a perspective of noisy performance ranking," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 497-517, March.
  2. Daniel Houser & Thomas Stratmann, 2012. "Gordon Tullock and experimental economics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 152(1), pages 211-222, July.
  3. Fu, Qiang & Gürtler, Oliver & Münster, Johannes, 2013. "Communication and commitment in contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 1-19.
  4. Van Gorder, Robert A. & Caputo, Michael R., 2010. "Envelope theorems for locally differentiable open-loop Stackelberg equilibria of finite horizon differential games," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1123-1139, June.
  5. Grégoire ROTA-GRAZIOSI & Magnus HOFFMANN, 2010. "Endogenous Timing in General Rent‐Seeking and Conflict Models," Working Papers 201024, CERDI.
  6. Christoffel Grechenig & Martin Kolmar, 2011. "The State’s Enforcement Monopoly and the Private Protection of Property," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_24, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  7. Bhaskar, V., 2009. "Commitment and observability in a contracting environment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 708-720, July.
  8. Denter, Philipp & Morgan, John & Sisak, Dana, 2011. ""Where Ignorance is Bliss, 'tis Folly to be Wise": Transparency in Contests," Economics Working Paper Series 1128, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  9. V. Bhaskar, 2005. "Commitment and Observability in an Economic Environment," Economics Discussion Papers 596, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  10. Tanja Hörtnagl & Rudolf Kerschbamer, 2014. "How the Value of Information Shapes the Value of Commitment Or: Why the Value of Commitment Does Not Vanish," Working Papers 2014-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  11. Caruso, Raul & Schneider, Friedrich, 2009. "Al Qaeda and Jihadist Terrorism in the Light of Contest Theory, Empirical Evidence for the period 2004-2008," MPRA Paper 15856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Caruso, Raul, 2008. "Al Qaeda as a Tournament: Empirical Evidence," MPRA Paper 11693, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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