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Selection tournaments, sabotage, and participation

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  • Münster, Johannes
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    Abstract

    This paper studies sabotage in tournaments with at least three contestants, where the contestants know each other well. Every contestant has an incentive to direct sabotage specifically against his most dangerous rival. In equilibrium, contestants who choose a higher productive effort are sabotaged more heavily. This might explain findings from psychology, where victims of mobbing are sometimes found to be overachieving. Further, sabotage equalizes promotion chances. The effect is most pronounced if the production function is linear in sabotage, and the cost function depends only on the sum of all sabotage activities: in an interior equilibrium, who will win is a matter of chance, even when contestants differ a great deal in their abilities. This, in turn, has adverse consequences for who might want to participate in a tournament. Since better contestants anticipate that they will be sabotaged more strongly, it may happen that the most able stay out and the tournament selects one of the less able with probability one. I also study the case where some contestants are easy victims, i. e. easier to sabotage than others. -- Firmen setzen häufig Anreize, indem sie die Leistung der Mitarbeiter vergleichen, und die erfolgreichsten befördern oder eine Prämie bezahlen. Solche Anreizsysteme werden in der Literatur als Turniere bezeichnet. Da es in einem Turnier nur darauf ankommt, besser zu sein als die Konkurrenten, hat jeder einen Anreiz, seine Konkurrenten zu sabotieren. Dieser Aufsatz studiert Sabotage in Turnieren zwischen mindestens drei Teilnehmern. Jeder hat einen Anreiz, seinen gefährlichsten Gegner am meisten zu sabotieren. Im Gleichgewicht werden diejenigen, die am produktivsten arbeiten, am stärksten sabotiert. Dies mag Forschungsergebnisse aus der Psychologie erklären, in denen sich zeigt, dass die Opfer von Mobbing besonders leistungsorientiert sind. Darüberhinaus führt Sabotage zu einer Angleichung der Gewinnwahrscheinlichkeiten. Der Effekt ist am deutlichsten wenn die Produktionsfunktion linear in Sabotage ist, und die Kostenfunktion nur von der Summe der Sabotageaktivitäten abhängt: In einem inneren Gleichgewicht ist es reiner Zufall, wer gewinnt, auch wenn die Teilnehmer sehr unterschiedliche Fähigkeiten haben. Dies hat auch Rückwirkungen auf die Bereitschaft, an dem Turnier teilzunehmen. Da bessere Spieler voraussehen, dass sie mehr sabotiert werden werden, sind ihre Anreize teilzunehmen unter Umständen geringer als die von weniger fähigen Spielern. Deshalb ist ein Turnier nicht als Auswahlmechanismus geeignet ist, wenn Sabotage eine wichtige Rolle spielt.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance with number SP II 2006-08.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200608

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    Related research

    Keywords: Tournament; contest; sabotage; selection;

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    References

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    1. Green, Jerry R & Stokey, Nancy L, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 349-64, June.
    2. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
    3. Kong-Pin Chen, 2004. "External Recruitment as an incentive Device," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 54, Econometric Society.
    4. Hvide, Hans K. & Kristiansen, Eirik G., 2003. "Risk taking in selection contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 172-179, January.
    5. Derek Clark & Christian Riis, 2001. "Rank-order tournaments and selection," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 167-191, June.
    6. Drago, Robert & Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 1991. "Competition and cooperation in the workplace," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 347-364, May.
    7. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2001. "An Empirical Examination of Multidimensional Effort in Tournaments," Working Papers 2001-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    8. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    9. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-15, September.
    10. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 1988. "Promotions, Elections, and Other Contests: Comment on Sherwin Rosen," Munich Reprints in Economics 3170, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    11. Emmanuelle Auriol & Guido Friebel & Lambros Pechlivanos, 2002. "Career Concerns in Teams," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 289-307, Part.
    12. Glazer, Amihai & Hassin, Refael, 1988. "Optimal Contests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 133-43, January.
    13. Drago, Robert & Garvey, Gerald T, 1998. "Incentives for Helping on the Job: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, January.
    14. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Hess, Gregory D., 1996. "A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-229, December.
    15. Chan, William, 1996. "External Recruitment versus Internal Promotion," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 555-70, October.
    16. Kong-Pin Chen, 2003. "Sabotage in Promotion Tournaments," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 119-140, April.
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