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Incentives in Tournaments with Endogenous Prize Selection

Author

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  • Christine Harbring
  • Bernd Irlenbusch

Abstract

Tournament incentive schemes offer payments dependent on relative performance and are intended thereby to motivate agents to exert productive effort. Unfortunately, however, an agent may also be tempted to degrade the production of his competitors in order to improve the own relative position. We investigate whether this sabotage problem is mitigated in a repeated interaction between the agents and the principal. As sabotage can hardly be observed in real-world organizations, we employ a controlled experiment. Our data provide clear evidence that agents' behavior is not only guided by competition between agents but also by the possibility of punishing the principal via sabotage.

Suggested Citation

  • Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2005. "Incentives in Tournaments with Endogenous Prize Selection," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(4), pages 636-636, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200512)161:4_636:iitwep_2.0.tx_2-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
    2. Abbink, Klaus & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1995. "RatImage - research Assistance Toolbox for Computer-Aided Human Behavior Experiments," Discussion Paper Serie B 325, University of Bonn, Germany.
    3. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Responsibility and effort in an experimental labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 375-384, July.
    4. Drago, Robert & Garvey, Gerald T, 1998. "Incentives for Helping on the Job: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-280, April.
    7. Christian Grund & Dirk Sliwka, 2005. "Envy and Compassion in Tournaments," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 187-207, March.
    8. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    9. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2003. "Inequity Aversion in Tournaments," Cahiers de recherche 0322, CIRPEE.
    10. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1987. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 1-33, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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