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Sabotage in Tournaments: Making the Beautiful Game a Bit Less Beautiful

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  • Garicano, Luis
  • Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio

Abstract

We exploit an incentive change in professional soccer leagues aimed at encouraging more attacking and goal scoring to obtain evidence on the effect of stronger incentives on productive and destructive effort. Using as control the behavior of the same teams in a competition that experienced no changes in incentives, we provide differences-in-differences estimates of the effect of the incentive change on the behavior of teams. We find that, although teams increased offensive effort, they also increased destructive effort (`sabotage') substantially, resulting in no net change in scoring. When ahead, teams became more conservative, increasing their defenders, scoring less goals, and allowing fewer attempts to score by their opponents. We also find that teams that engage more in sabotage activities depress the attendance at their rival's home stadiums, and that indeed attendance suffered as a result of the incentive change. Thus, teams responded to stronger incentives, but in an undesirable way.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5231.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5231

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Keywords: incentives; multitasking; sabotage; tournaments;

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References

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  1. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1987. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 1-33, February.
  2. Itoh, Hideshi, 1992. "Cooperation in Hierarchical Organizations: An Incentive Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 321-45, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Loukas Balafoutas & Florian Lindner & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 425-441, November.
  2. Miklos-Thal, Jeanine & Ullrich, Hannes, 2010. "Effort in Nomination Contests: Evidence from Professional Soccer," MPRA Paper 24340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Oliver Gurtler, 2013. "Sabotage in Contests: A Survey," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 051, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  4. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews & John Schirm, 2010. "Tournaments and Office Politics: Evidence from a Real Effort Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 504-17, March.
  5. repec:dgr:uvatin:2008094 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Robert Dur & Joeri Sol, 2008. "Social Interaction, Co-Worker Altruism, and Incentives," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-094/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 03 Aug 2009.
  7. Miklós-Thal, Jeanine & Ullrich, Hannes, 2009. "Nomination contests: theory and empirical evidence from professional soccer," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-027, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2008. "How many winners are good to have?: On tournaments with sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 682-702, March.
  9. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2009. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 4205, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Bernd Süssmuth & Stefan Wagner, 2012. "A Market’s Reward Scheme, Media Attention, and the Transitory Success of Managerial Change," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 232(3), pages 258-278, May.
  11. Grund, Christian & Höcker, Jan & Zimmermann, Stefan, 2010. "Risk Taking Behavior in Tournaments: Evidence from the NBA," IZA Discussion Papers 4812, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Stefan Wagner, 2010. "Managerial succession and organizational performance-evidence from the German Soccer League," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(6), pages 415-430.
  13. Moschini, GianCarlo, 2008. "Incentives and Outcomes in a Strategic Setting: The 3-Points-For-A-Win System in Soccer," Staff General Research Papers 12942, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  14. Babatunde Buraimo & David Forrest & Robert Simmons, 2007. "The Twelfth Man? Refereeing Bias in English and German Soccer," Working Papers 0707, International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists.

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