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Workaholics and Drop Outs in Optimal Organizations

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  • Wieland Muller

    ()
    (Department of Economics, New York University)

  • Andrew Schotter

    ()
    (Department of Politics, New York University)

Abstract

This paper reports the results of experiments designed to test the theory of the optimal composition of prizes in contests. We find that while in the aggregate the behavior of our subjects is consistent with that predicted by the theory, such aggregate results mask an unexpected compositional effect on the individual level. While theory predicts that subject efforts are continuous and increasing functions of ability, the actual efforts of our laboratory subjects bifurcate. Low ability workers drop out and exert little or no effort while high ability subjects try too hard. This discontinuity, which is masked by aggregation, has significant consequences for behavior in organizations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by New York University, Center for Experimental Social Science in its series Working Papers with number 0022.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 05 Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cso:wpaper:0022

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Web page: http://cess.nyu.edu/
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Keywords: Contests; All-Pay Auctions; Experiments;

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Cited by:
  1. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2005. "How Many Winners Are Good to Have? On Tournaments with Sabotage," IZA Discussion Papers 1777, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2004. "Incentives in Tournaments with Endogenous Prize Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 1340, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Ghazala Azmat & Nagore Iriberri, 2009. "The importance of relative performance feedback information: Evidence from a natural experiment using high school students," Economics Working Papers 1148, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2010.
  5. Ghazala Azmat & Nagore Iriberri, 2010. "The provision of relative performance feedback information: An experimental analysis of performance and happiness," Economics Working Papers 1216, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. Tor Eriksson & Anders Poulsen & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2008. "Feedback and Incentives : Experimental Evidence," Post-Print halshs-00276396, HAL.
  7. Freeman, Richard B. & Gelber, Alexander M., 2008. "Prize Structure and Information in Tournaments: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 12156, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. PARREIRAS, Sérgio O. & RUBINCHIK-PESSACH, Anna, 2006. "Contests with heterogeneous agents," CORE Discussion Papers 2006004, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Hannah Hörisch & Oliver Kirchkamp, 2008. "Less fighting than expected - experiments with wars of attrition and all-pay auctions," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-023, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  10. Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch & Matthias Kräkel & Reinhard Selten, 2004. "Sabotage in Asymmetric Contests – An Experimental Analysis," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2004, University of Bonn, Germany.
  11. Fonseca, Miguel A., 2009. "An experimental investigation of asymmetric contests," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 582-591, September.

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