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Pay and Performance in Professional Road Racing: The Case of City Marathons


  • Bernd Frick

    () (Witten/Herdecke University)

  • Joachim Prinz

    (Witten/Herdecke University)


In a world of asymmetric information and non-trivial monitoring costs, the design and implementation of a compensation and reward system that maximizes the individual athlete’s performance is one of the critical variables affecting the reputation of a specific sports event. Assuming that the relationship between a race organizer and a professional runner can be characterized as a principal agent-relationship, we use detailed data from 57 city marathons to test various hypotheses derived from tournament theory. Controlling for a large number of other possible determinants of race quality, we find that the level of the prize money as well as its distribution influence the participants’ performance in the predicted way. When examined in more detail, however, the incentive effects diminish.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernd Frick & Joachim Prinz, 2007. "Pay and Performance in Professional Road Racing: The Case of City Marathons," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 2(1), pages 25-35, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:2:y:2007:i:1:p:25-35

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Long, James E & Caudill, Steven B, 1991. "The Impact of Participation in Intercollegiate Athletics on Income and Graduation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 525-531, August.
    7. Robert Kaestner & Xin Xu, 2006. "Effects of Title IX and Sports Participation on Girls' Physical Activity and Weight," NBER Working Papers 12113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006.
    9. Lisa Farrell & Michael A. Shields, 2002. "Investigating the economic and demographic determinants of sporting participation in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(2), pages 335-348.
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    12. Humphreys, Brad & Ruseski, Jane, 2009. "The Economics of Participation and Time Spent in Physical Activity," Working Papers 2009-9, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1759-1770 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wicker, Pamela & Prinz, Joachim & von Hanau, Tassilo, 2012. "Estimating the value of national sporting success," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 200-210.
    3. repec:eee:jobhdp:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dennis Coates & Petr Parshakov, 2016. "Team Vs. Individual Tournaments: Evidence From Prize Structure In Esports," HSE Working papers WP BRP 138/EC/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

    More about this item


    tournaments; incentives; effort; pay-performance-relationship;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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