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Potential, Prizes and Performance: Testing Tournament Theory with Professional Tennis Data

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  • Sunde, Uwe

    ()
    (University of Munich)

Abstract

This paper tests two hypotheses from the theory of elimination tournaments: (i) that uneven tournaments, where the contestants are ex ante heterogeneous, entail lower effort exertion; this is a prediction from agency theory that has not been tested empirically before; and (ii) whether incentives set through prizes matter for effort exertion; this assumption underlies any agency theory about elimination tournaments, and has been empirically tested in other contexts. The evidence obtained with data from professional tennis tournaments supports both the assumption that incentives matter, as well as the theoretical implications concerning uneven tournaments among heterogeneous contestants.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 947.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp947

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Keywords: incentives in tournaments; tennis; uneven tournaments; elimination tournaments;

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  1. Orszag, Jonathan M., 1994. "A new look at incentive effects and golf tournaments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 77-88, September.
  2. Levitt, Steven D, 1994. "Using Repeat Challengers to Estimate the Effect of Campaign Spending on Election Outcomes in the U.S. House," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 777-98, August.
  3. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  4. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
  5. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-24, December.
  6. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  7. Bognanno, Michael L, 2001. "Corporate Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 290-315, April.
  8. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1992. "Asymmetric Tournaments, Equal Opportunity Laws, and Affirmative Action: Some Experimental Results," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 511-39, May.
  9. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1987. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 1-33, February.
  10. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 1668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Klaassen F. J G M & Magnus J. R., 2001. "Are Points in Tennis Independent and Identically Distributed? Evidence From a Dynamic Binary Panel Data Model," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 96, pages 500-509, June.
  12. Abrevaya, Jason, 2002. "Ladder tournaments and underdogs: lessons from professional bowling," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 87-101, January.
  13. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  14. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-80, April.
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