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Sequential Teamwork in Competitive Environments: Theory and Evidence from Swimming Data

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  • Michael Neugart
  • Matteo Richiardi

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to assess whether there is free-riding in teams when team production is sequential and when there is competition between teams. This a common case, which, however, has not been considered in the literature so far. We develop a model where team members contributing earlier have an incentive to free-ride more even when there is competition between teams. These predictions are tested on more than 300.000 observations on swimmers’ performance at competitions from all over the world. We find that swimmers in relays perform weaker as compared to their individual performance, and that earlier swimmers’ performance in relays is weaker relative to later swimmers. Our results suggest that competition does not solve the free-riding problem in team production with sequential contributions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies in its series LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series with number 109.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cca:wplabo:109

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Keywords: team production; contest; intergroup competition; sequential contribution; free-riding; swimming;

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  11. Gunnthorsdottir, Anna & Rapoport, Amnon, 2006. "Embedding social dilemmas in intergroup competition reduces free-riding," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 184-199, November.
  12. Heinrich W. Ursprung, 1990. "Public Goods, Rent Dissipation, And Candidate Competition," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 115-132, 07.
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  14. Miles, Jeffrey A. & Greenberg, Jerald, 1993. "Using Punishment Threats to Attenuate Social Loafing Effects among Swimmers," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 246-265, November.
  15. Katz, Eliakim & Nitzan, Shmuel & Rosenberg, Jacob, 1990. " Rent-Seeking for Pure Public Goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 49-60, April.
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