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Contest Theory and Sport


  • Bernd Frick


Contrary to most sports fans economists tend to view tournaments not only as a mechanism to identify the most able and most talented athlete(s) but also as an instrument to increase the athletes' effort levels by designing an adequate compensation system that takes into account the specificities of the contest under consideration. The paper proceeds in two different steps: First, it reviews the available evidence on sports contests and identifies some puzzles that have not yet been resolved in the literature (the empirical separation of selection and incentive effects and the impact of incentive pay in team settings). Second, it addresses these puzzles and offers some new evidence supporting the basic assumptions offered by economic theory. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernd Frick, 2003. "Contest Theory and Sport," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 512-529, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:19:y:2003:i:4:p:512-529

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wei Shi & Brian L. Connelly & Wm. Gerard Sanders, 2016. "Buying bad behavior: Tournament incentives and securities class action lawsuits," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(7), pages 1354-1378, July.
    2. Lenten, Liam J.A. & Geerling, Wayne & Kónya, László, 2012. "A hedonic model of player wage determination from the Indian Premier League auction: Further evidence," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 60-71.
    3. Helena Fornwagner, 2017. "Incentives to lose revisited: The NHL and its tournament incentives," Working Papers 2017-07, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    4. Colin Green & Fernando Lozano & Rob Simmons, 2015. "Rank-Order Tournaments, Probability of Winning and Investing in Talent: Evidence from Champions' League Qualifying Rules," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 232(1), pages 30-40, May.
    5. Papps, Kerry L. & Bryson, Alex & Gomez, Rafael, 2011. "Heterogeneous worker ability and team-based production: Evidence from major league baseball, 1920-2009," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 310-319, June.
    6. Giancarlo Moschini, 2010. "Incentives And Outcomes In A Strategic Setting: The 3-Points-For-A-Win System In Soccer," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 65-79, January.
    7. Christoph Bühren & Philip J. Steinberg, 2017. "The impact of psychological traits on performance in sequential tournaments: Evidence from a tennis field experiment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201705, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    8. Dmitry Ryvkin & Andreas Ortmann, 2006. "Three Prominent Tournament Formats: Predictive Power and Costs," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp303, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    9. Feddersen, Arne & Humphreys, Brad & Soebbing, Brian, 2012. "Cost Incentives in European Football," Working Papers 2012-13, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    10. XiaoGang Che & Brad R. Humphreys, 2013. "Earnings and performance in women’s skiing," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports, chapter 6, pages 115-131 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Ryan Brady & Michael Insler, 2017. "Order of Play Advantage in Sequential Tournaments: Evidence from randomized settings in professional golf," Departmental Working Papers 54, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    12. Douglas Coate & David Goldbaum, 2004. "Skills, Purses, and Performance in Professional Golf," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2004-007, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.

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