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Self-Selection And The Efficiency Of Tournaments


"The literature has shown that the overall efficiency of exogenously imposed tournaments is reduced by a high variance in performance. This article reports results from an experiment analyzing whether allowing subjects to self-select into different payment schemes is reducing the variability of performance in tournaments. We show that when the subjects choose to enter a tournament instead of a piece-rate payment scheme, the average effort is higher and the between-subject variance is substantially lower than when the same payment scheme is imposed. Mainly based on risk aversion, sorting is efficiency enhancing since it increases the homogeneity of the contestants". ("JEL "M52, J33, J31, C81, C91) Copyright (c) 2007 Western Economic Association International.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 47 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (07)
Pages: 530-548

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:47:y:2009:i:3:p:530-548
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  1. Edward Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Sorting, Prices, and Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental," Post-Print halshs-00175039, HAL.
  13. 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.
  14. Hvide, H.K. & Kristiansen, E.G., 1999. "Risk Taking in Selection Contests," Papers 5-99, Tel Aviv.
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  16. Bognanno, Michael L, 2001. "Corporate Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 290-315, April.
  17. Andrew Schotter & Keith Weigelt, 1992. "Asymmetric Tournaments, Equal Opportunity Laws, and Affirmative Action: Some Experimental Results," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 511-539.
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  19. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
  20. Lise Vesterlund & Muriel Niederle, 2004. "Do Women shy away from Competition?," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 652, Econometric Society.
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  25. Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2005. "Incentives in Tournaments with Endogenous Prize Selection," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(4), pages 636-, December.
  26. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2003. "An experimental study on tournament design," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 443-464, August.
  27. Edward P. Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto A. Weber, 2012. "Sorting in Experiments with Application to Social Preferences," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 136-63, January.
  28. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-80, April.
  29. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  30. Main, Brian G M & O'Reilly, Charles A, III & Wade, James, 1993. "Top Executive Pay: Tournament or Teamwork?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 606-28, October.
  31. Knoeber, Charles R & Thurman, Walter N, 1994. "Testing the Theory of Tournaments: An Empirical Analysis of Broiler Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 155-79, April.
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