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Incentive effects and overcrowding in tournaments: An experimental analysis

Author

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  • Donald Vandegrift

    ()

  • Abdullah Yavas

    ()

  • Paul Brown

    ()

Abstract

This study reports experiments that examine outcomes when agents choose between a payment scheme that rewards based on absolute performance (i.e., piece rate) and a scheme that rewards based on relative performance (i.e., a tournament). Holding total payments in the tournament constant, performance is higher when the tournament option is winner-take-all compared to a graduated tournament (i.e., second and third-place performers also receive a payment). Performance is higher in the winner-take all tournaments even among participants that choose the piece-rate option. While there is a modest amount of overcrowding, there are no significant differences in overcrowding across conditions. Entry rates into the tournament and the relative ability of tournament entrants (compared to non-entrants in the same condition) are higher in the graduated tournament condition than the winner-take-all conditions. Consequently, the winner-take-all tournament is more efficient than the graduated tournament (incentive effects are stronger and the overcrowding is about the same), but the graduated tournament provides a more effective mechanism to identify the most capable performer in a talent pool. Copyright Economic Science Association 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Donald Vandegrift & Abdullah Yavas & Paul Brown, 2007. "Incentive effects and overcrowding in tournaments: An experimental analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(4), pages 345-368, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:10:y:2007:i:4:p:345-368
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-006-9138-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2015. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 609-669, December.
    2. Oliver Baumann & Nils Stieglitz, 2011. "Motivating Organizational Search," DRUID Working Papers 11-08, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    3. Kräkel, Matthias & Nieken, Petra, 2015. "Relative performance pay in the shadow of crisis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 244-268.
    4. Marinakis, Kosmas & Tsoulouhas, Theofanis, 2013. "Are tournaments optimal over piece rates under limited liability for the principal?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 223-237.
    5. Migheli, Matteo, 2015. "Gender at work: Incentives and self-sorting," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 10-18.
    6. Noemí Herranz-Zarzoso & Gerardo Sabater-Grande, 2016. "Financial incentives and academic performance: An experimental study," Working Papers 2016/18, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    7. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    8. repec:uea:wcbess:13-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:elg:eechap:15325_9 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mürüvvet Büyükboyacı, 2016. "A Designer'S Choice Between Single-Prize And Parallel Tournaments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1774-1789, October.
    11. Kyung Hwan Baik & Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Abhijit Ramalingam, 2015. "Group size and matching protocol in contests," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 13-11R, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    12. Philip Brookins & Jennifer Brown & Dmitry Ryvkin, 2016. "Peer Information and Risk-taking under Competitive and Non-competitive Pay Schemes," NBER Working Papers 22486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Schüssler, Katharina, 2018. "The Influence of Overconfidence and Competition Neglect On Entry Into Competition," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 87, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    14. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2013. "Sabotage in Contests: An Overview," CESifo Working Paper Series 4422, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:11-23 is not listed on IDEAS

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