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The tug-of-war in the laboratory

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  • Deck, Cary
  • Sheremeta, Roman M.

Abstract

The tug-of-war is a multi-battle contest often used to describe extended interactions in economics, operations management, political science, and other disciplines. While there has been some theoretical work, to the best of our knowledge, this paper provides the first experimental study of the tug-of-war. The results show notable deviations of behavior from theory derived under standard assumptions. In the first battle of the tug-of-war, subjects often bid less, while in the follow-up battles, they bid more than predicted. Also, contrary to the prediction, bids tend to increase in the duration of the tug-of-war. Finally, extending the margin necessary to win the tug-of-war causes a greater reduction in bidding than either a decrease in the prize or greater impatience despite all three having the same predicted effect. These findings have implications both for theorists and practitioners.

Suggested Citation

  • Deck, Cary & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2019. "The tug-of-war in the laboratory," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:60:y:2019:i:c:s0176268017302859
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2019.02.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Dan Kovenock & Brian Roberson & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2019. "The attack and defense of weakest-link networks," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 179(3), pages 175-194, June.
    2. Kai A. Konrad & Florian Morath, 2020. "Escalation in conflict games: on beliefs and selection," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(3), pages 750-787, September.
    3. Christian Ewerhart & Julian Teichgräber, 2019. "Multi-battle contests, finite automata, and the tug-of-war," ECON - Working Papers 318, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tug-of-war; All-pay auction; Multi-stage contest; Laboratory experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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