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Tournament Rewards and Risk Taking

  • Hans K. Hvide

    (Norwegian School of Economics and Business)

This article considers a Lazear-Rosen tournament model where agents can influence both the spread of their output distribution (risk taking) and its mean. The unique equilibrium induces excessive risk taking and a low level of effort. By modifying the tournament to give the highest prize to the agent with the "most moderate" output, a low level of risk taking and high level of effort can be sustained as an equilibrium. The first result can be useful to understand the Relative Performance Evaluation Puzzle of executive compensation, and the second result can be useful to understand puzzling workplace norms promoting mediocrity.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 20 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 877-898

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:20:y:2002:i:4:p:877-898
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. Richard L. Fullerton & R. Preston McAfee, 1999. "Auctioning Entry into Tournaments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 573-605, June.
  2. Judith A. Chevalier & Glenn D. Ellison, 1995. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Heinkel, Robert & Stoughton, Neal M, 1994. "The Dynamics of Portfolio Management Contracts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(2), pages 351-87.
  4. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
  5. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "The Other Side of the Trade-off: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 65-105, February.
  6. Brown, Keith C & Harlow, W V & Starks, Laura T, 1996. " Of Tournaments and Temptations: An Analysis of Managerial Incentives in the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 85-110, March.
  7. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
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