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Strategic manipulation in tournament games

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  • Vong, Allen I.K.

Abstract

I consider the strategic manipulation problem in multistage tournaments. In each stage, players are sorted into groups in which they play pairwise matches against each other. The match results induce a ranking over players in each group, and higher ranked players qualify to the next stage. Players prefer qualifying to higher stages. In this setting, a player may potentially profit by exerting zero effort in some matches even when effort exertion is costless. Since such behavior manipulates the tournament, it is desired that full effort exertion is an equilibrium and any equilibrium ranking of qualifying players is immune to manipulation. To this end, I show that it is both necessary and sufficient to allow only the top-ranked player to qualify from each group. Otherwise, rankings can become a noisy indicator of players' strengths, while effort cost and heterogeneous prize spread can be of little relevance to players' effort choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Vong, Allen I.K., 2017. "Strategic manipulation in tournament games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 562-567.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:102:y:2017:i:c:p:562-567
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2017.02.011
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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.
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    5. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-715, September.
    6. Dagaev, Dmitry & Sonin, Konstantin, 2013. "Winning by Losing: Incentive Incompatibility in Multiple Qualifiers," CEPR Discussion Papers 9373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. 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 349-364, June.
    8. Christian Groh & Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "Optimal seedings in elimination tournaments," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(1), pages 59-80, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Encarnación Algaba & Stefano Moretti & Eric Rémila & Philippe Solal, 2021. "Lexicographic solutions for coalitional rankings," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 57(4), pages 817-849, November.
    2. Laica, Christoph & Lauber, Arne & Sahm, Marco, 2021. "Sequential round-robin tournaments with multiple prizes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 421-448.
    3. László Csató, 2019. "UEFA Champions League Entry Has Not Satisfied Strategyproofness in Three Seasons," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 20(7), pages 975-981, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tournament design; Contest design; Strategic manipulation; Subgame perfect implementation; Incentive-compatibility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games

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