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The Thrill of Victory: Measuring the Incentive to Win

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  • Bentley Coffey
  • M. T. Maloney

Abstract

There is ample evidence that incentive-pay structures, such as tournaments, result in increased performance. Is this due to selection or increased individual effort, and is any increased individual effort caused by pecuniary incentives or merely thirst for the thrill of victory (TOV)? Prior literature has not separated the different effects. We look at performance in horse and dog racing and find that only horses, controlled by jockeys during the race, exhibit performance corresponding to pecuniary incentives, while both respond to selection and TOV. The results show that pay structures do matter. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Bentley Coffey & M. T. Maloney, 2010. "The Thrill of Victory: Measuring the Incentive to Win," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 87-112, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:28:y:2010:i:1:p:87-112
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jed DeVaro & Antti Kauhanen, 2016. "An “Opposing Responses” Test of Classic versus Market-Based Promotion Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(3), pages 747-779.
    2. Brown, Alasdair & Chowdhury, Subhasish M., 2017. "The hidden perils of affirmative action: Sabotage in handicap contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 273-284.
    3. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2013. "Rankings, Random Successes, and Individual Performance," Economics Working Paper Series 1340, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    4. Frick, Bernd & Humphreys, Brad, 2011. "Prize Structure and Performance: Evidence from NASCAR," Working Papers 2011-12, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    5. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2016. "The pros and cons of workplace tournaments," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 302-302, October.
    6. McAlvanah, Patrick & Moul, Charles C., 2013. "The house doesn’t always win: Evidence of anchoring among Australian bookies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 87-99.
    7. Luisa Herbst, 2016. "Who Pays to Win Again? The Joy of Winning in Contest Experiments," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2016-06, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    8. Linnemer, Laurent & Visser, Michael, 2016. "Self-selection in tournaments: The case of chess players," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 213-234.
    9. Charles Moul & Joseph Keller, 2014. "Time to Unbridle U.S. Thoroughbred Racetracks? Lessons from Australian Bookies," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 44(3), pages 211-239, May.
    10. Babington, Michael & Goerg, Sebastian J. & Kitchens, Carl, 2017. "Do Tournaments with Superstars Encourage or Discourage Competition?," IZA Discussion Papers 10755, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. repec:eee:labeco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:189-199 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Alex Krumer, 2013. "Best-of-two contests with psychological effects," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(1), pages 85-100, July.

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