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Optimal scrutiny in multi-period promotion tournaments

  • Dubey, Pradeep
  • Haimanko, Ori

Consider a principal who hires heterogeneous agents to work for him over T periods, without prior knowledge of their respective skills, and intends to promote one of them at the end. In each period the agents choose effort levels and produce random outputs, independently of each other, and are fully informed of the past history of outputs. The principal's major objective is to maximize the total expected output, but he may also put some weight on detecting the higher-skilled agent for promotion. To this end, he randomly samples n out of the T periods and awards the promotion to the agent who produces more on the sample. This determines an extensive form game Gamma (T,n), which we analyze for its subgame perfect equilibria in behavioral strategies. We show that the principal will do best to always choose a small sample size n. More precisely, if eta(T) is the maximal optimal sample size, then eta(T)/T approaches 0 as T approaches infinity.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 42 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-24

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:42:y:2003:i:1:p:1-24
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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  1. Green, Jerry & Stokey, Nancy, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Scholarly Articles 3203644, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. 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 841-64, October.
  3. Dubey, Pradeep & Kaneko, Mamoru, 1985. "Information patterns and Nash equilibria in extensive games -- II," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 247-262, December.
  4. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 1668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Pradeep Dubey & Mamoru Kaneko, 1983. "Information Patterns and Nash Equilibria in Extensive Games," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 676, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Cowen, Tyler & Glazer, Amihai, 1996. "More monitoring can induce less effort," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 113-123, July.
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