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The Distribution of Talent across Contests

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  • Ghazala Azmat
  • Marc Möller

Abstract

Do the contests with the largest prizes attract the most able contestants? Do contestants avoid competition? In this paper we show that the distribution of abilities plays a crucial role in determining contest choice. Positive sorting exist only when the proportion of high ability contestants is sufficiently small. As this pro- portion increases, contestants shy away from competition and sorting decreases. Eventually, contests with smaller prizes attract stronger participants, i.e. there exists negative sorting. We test our theoretical predictions using a large panel data set containing contest choice over three decades. We use exogenous variation in the participation of highly able competitors to provide empirical evidence for the relationship between prizes and sorting.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 600.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:600

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Keywords: contests; prize structure; ability; sorting;

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  15. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1991. "Rigging The Lobbying Process: An Application Of The All- Pay Auction," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1002, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
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