Contest Theory and Sport
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.
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