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An experimental study of sorting in group contests

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  • Philip Brookins

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

  • John Lightle

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

  • Dmitry Ryvkin

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

Abstract

We study experimentally the effects of sorting in contests between groups of heterogeneous players whose within-group efforts are perfect substitutes. The theory predicts that higher aggregate effort will be reached when variation in ability between groups is lower, i.e., by a more balanced sorting. In the experiment, we assign subjects to four types -- A, B, C, and D -- ranked by their cost of effort, with A having the lowest and D having the highest cost, and conduct contests between two groups of two players each. In the Balanced treatment, (A,D) groups (i.e., groups comprised of a type A and a type D player) compete with (B,C) groups, whereas in the Unbalanced treatment, (A,B) groups compete with (C,D) groups. We find substantial heterogeneity and overinvestment of efforts by all types in both treatments, including the "underdog" (C,D) group which surprisingly is not demoralized by the unbalanced matching. Despite strong overbidding, relative aggregate efforts are remarkably close to equilibrium predictions both between treatments and between groups within each treatment. The results confirm the prediction that balanced sorting leads to higher aggregate effort.

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File URL: ftp://econpapers.fsu.edu/RePEc/fsu/wpaper/wp2014_01_01.pdf
File Function: First version, 2014-01
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Florida State University in its series Working Papers with number wp2014_01_01.

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Length: 25
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fsu:wpaper:wp2014_01_01

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Keywords: contest; group; sorting; heterogeneous players; experiment;

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References

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  1. Dechenaux, Emmanuel & Kovenock, Dan & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2012. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-109, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Sheremeta, Roman, 2013. "Overbidding and Heterogeneous Behavior in Contest Experiments," MPRA Paper 44124, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Dongryul Lee & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2011. "Top Guns May Not Fire: Best-Shot Group Contests with Group-Specific Public Good Prizes," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 024, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  4. Sheremeta, Roman, 2011. "Perfect-Substitutes, Best-Shot, and Weakest-Link Contests between Groups," MPRA Paper 52105, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  7. Nalbantian, Haig R & Schotter, Andrew, 1997. "Productivity under Group Incentives: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 314-41, June.
  8. Sheremeta, Roman, 2009. "Contest Design: An Experimental Investigation," MPRA Paper 52101, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  15. Ahn, T.K. & Isaac, R. Mark & Salmon, Timothy C., 2011. "Rent seeking in groups," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 116-125, January.
  16. Ryvkin, Dmitry, 2011. "The optimal sorting of players in contests between groups," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 564-572.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Erik O. Kimbrough & Roman M. Sheremeta & Timothy Shields, 2011. "Resolving Conflicts by a Random Device," Working Papers 11-09, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  2. Francesco Fallucchi & Elke Renner & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Information Feedback and Contest Structure in Rent-Seeking Games," Discussion Papers 2012-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  3. Steven Tucker & Charles Noussair & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Overbidding And Heterogeneous Behavior In Contest Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 491-514, 07.

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