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Risk Taking in Asymmetric Tournaments

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  • Matthias Kräkel
  • Dirk Sliwka

Abstract

A tournament is examined in which two agents with different abilities choose efforts as well as risks. According to the previous literature, the more (less) able agent should choose a low (high) risk strategy, because the first one does not want to imperil his favorable position, whereas the last one can only gain by increasing risk. We show that this is not necessarily true. Risk taking affects equilibrium efforts as well as winning probabilities. Depending on both effects diverse equilibria are possible. For example, the low and the high ability agent may both choose high risks or both choose low risks. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Kräkel & Dirk Sliwka, 2004. "Risk Taking in Asymmetric Tournaments," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(1), pages 103-116, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:5:y:2004:i:1:p:103-116
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hans K. Hvide, 2002. "Tournament Rewards and Risk Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 877-898, October.
    2. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-955.
    3. Hoffler, Felix & Sliwka, Dirk, 2003. "Do new brooms sweep clean? When and why dismissing a manager increases the subordinates' performance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 877-890, October.
    4. Glazer, Amihai & Hassin, Refael, 1988. "Optimal Contests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 133-143, January.
    5. 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 262-280, April.
    6. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-1324, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eriksen, Kristoffer W. & Kvaløy, Ola, 2014. "Myopic risk-taking in tournaments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 37-46.
    2. Grossmann, Martin, 2014. "Uncertain contest success function," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 134-148.
    3. Kräkel, Matthias, 2008. "Optimal risk taking in an uneven tournament game with risk averse players," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(11), pages 1219-1231, December.
    4. Kräkel, Matthias & Nieken, Petra & Przemeck, Judith, 2014. "Risk taking and investing in electoral competition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 98-120.
    5. Kristoffer W. Eriksen & Ola Kvaløy & Trond E. Olsen, 2011. "Tournaments with Prize‐setting Agents," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(3), pages 729-753, September.
    6. Andersson, Ola & Holm, Håkan J. & Wengström, Erik, 2016. "Grind or Gamble? An Experimental Analysis of Effort and Spread Seeking in Contests," Working Papers 2016:37, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    7. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2013. "Leading-effect vs. Risk-taking in Dynamic Tournaments: Evidence from a Real-life Randomized Experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics 15452, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    8. Kräkel, Matthias & Nieken, Petra & Przemeck, Judith, 2008. "Risk Taking in Winner-Take-All Competition," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 233, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    9. Christian Grund & Oliver Gurtler, 2005. "An empirical study on risk-taking in tournaments," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(8), pages 457-461.
    10. Nieken, Petra & Sliwka, Dirk, 2010. "Risk-taking tournaments - Theory and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 254-268, June.
    11. Kräkel, Matthias & Schöttner, Anja, 2010. "Technology choice, relative performance pay, and worker heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 748-758, December.
    12. Nieken, Petra & Stegh, Michael, 2010. "Incentive Effects in Asymmetric Tournaments Empirical Evidence from the German Hockey League," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 305, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    13. Kräkel, Matthias, 2008. "Optimal risk taking in an uneven tournament game with risk averse players," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(11), pages 1219-1231, December.

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