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Selection Tournaments, Sabotage, and Participation


  • Johannes Münster


"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. Moreover, sabotage equalizes promotion chances. The effect is most pronounced if the production functions are linear in sabotage, and the cost functions depend 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. Because 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, that is, easier to sabotage than others." Copyright 2007, The Author(s) Journal Compilation (c) 2007 Blackwell Publishing.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Münster, 2007. "Selection Tournaments, Sabotage, and Participation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 943-970, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:16:y:2007:i:4:p:943-970

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel F. Spulber, 1996. "Market Microstructure and Intermediation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 135-152, Summer.
    2. Daniel F. Spulber, 1996. "Market Making by Price-Setting Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 559-580.
    3. John Rust & George Hall, 2003. "Middlemen versus Market Makers: A Theory of Competitive Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 353-403, April.
    4. Yavas, Abdullah, 1994. "Middlemen in Bilateral Search Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 406-429, July.
    5. Yavas Abdullah, 1995. "Can Brokerage Have an Equilibrium Selection Role?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 17-37, January.
    6. repec:rus:hseeco:72158 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1988. "Bertrand Competition for Inputs and Walrasian Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 189-201, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gürtler, Oliver & Münster, Johannes, 2010. "Sabotage in dynamic tournaments," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 179-190, March.
    2. Gürtler, Oliver & Münster, Johannes, 2013. "Rational self-sabotage," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-4.
    3. Anja Schöttner & Veikko Thiele, 2010. "Promotion Tournaments and Individual Performance Pay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 699-731, September.
    4. Brown, Alasdair & Chowdhury, Subhasish M., 2017. "The hidden perils of affirmative action: Sabotage in handicap contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 273-284.
    5. Cason, Timothy N. & Masters, William A. & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2010. "Entry into winner-take-all and proportional-prize contests: An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 604-611, October.
    6. Dato, Simon & Nieken, Petra, 2014. "Gender differences in competition and sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 64-80.
    7. Marc Gürtler & Oliver Gürtler, 2015. "The Optimality of Heterogeneous Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 1007-1042.
    8. Van Long, Ngo, 2013. "The theory of contests: A unified model and review of the literature," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 161-181.
    9. Áron Kiss, 2009. "Coalition politics and accountability," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 413-428, June.
    10. Amegashie, J. Atsu, 2012. "Productive versus destructive efforts in contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 461-468.
    11. Malhotra, Deepak, 2010. "The desire to win: The effects of competitive arousal on motivation and behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 139-146, March.
    12. 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.
    13. Kräkel, Matthias & Schöttner, Anja, 2012. "Internal labor markets and worker rents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 491-509.

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