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Tournament performance and “Agency” problems: An empirical investigation of “March madness”

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  • James McClure
  • Lee Spector

Abstract

Tournaments have long been used as a resource allocation device. Regardless of the margin of victory, a tournament's champion is typically rewarded far more handsomely than are its losers. For this reason, a tournament can generally be expected to elicit spectacular levels of performance from a group of competitors; performances in professional golf tournaments are an example. Surprisingly, the analysis in this paper indicates the existence of no significant relationship between the rewards and performances of participants in the NCAA basketball tournament. To explain this finding we allude to the classic principal-agent problem.
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Suggested Citation

  • James McClure & Lee Spector, 1997. "Tournament performance and “Agency” problems: An empirical investigation of “March madness”," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 21(1), pages 61-68, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jecfin:v:21:y:1997:i:1:p:61-68
    DOI: 10.1007/BF02929023
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
    2. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-715, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-1324, December.
    5. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-580, June.
    6. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Beck A. Taylor & Justin G. Trogdon, 2002. "Losing to Win: Tournament Incentives in the National Basketball Association," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 23-41, January.
    2. Furqan, Mehreen & Ijaz, Maha, 2014. "Publication Trends and Methodological Advancements in the Area of Agency Cost," Sukkur IBA Journal of Management and Business, Sukkur IBA University, vol. 1(1), pages 57-86, October.

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