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Crowdsourcing City Government: Using Tournaments to Improve Inspection Accuracy

Author

Listed:
  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Andrew Hillis
  • Scott Duke Kominers
  • Michael Luca

Abstract

The proliferation of big data makes it possible to better target city services like hygiene inspections, but city governments rarely have the in-house talent needed for developing prediction algorithms. Cities could hire consultants, but a cheaper alternative is to crowdsource competence by making data public and offering a reward for the best algorithm. A simple model suggests that open tournaments dominate consulting contracts when cities can tolerate risk and when there is enough labor with low opportunity costs. We also report on an inexpensive Boston-based restaurant tournament, which yielded algorithms that proved reasonably accurate when tested "out-of-sample" on hygiene inspections.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Andrew Hillis & Scott Duke Kominers & Michael Luca, 2016. "Crowdsourcing City Government: Using Tournaments to Improve Inspection Accuracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 114-118, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:106:y:2016:i:5:p:114-18
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20161027
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 364-367, May.
    3. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2003. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 646-671, June.
    4. Ron Siegel, 2009. "All-Pay Contests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(1), pages 71-92, January.
    5. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez, 2005. "The Boston Public School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 368-371, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2160-:d:120044 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kevin J. Boudreau, 2018. "Amateurs Crowds & Professional Entrepreneurs as Platform Complementors," NBER Working Papers 24512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Wagner Piazza Gaglianone & Raffaella Giacomini & João Victor Issler & Vasiliki Skreta, 2018. "Incentive-driven Inattention," Working Papers Series 485, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
    4. repec:kap:policy:v:50:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11077-017-9303-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • R51 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies

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