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Interim Rank, Risk Taking, and Performance in Dynamic Tournaments

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  • Christos Genakos
  • Mario Pagliero

Abstract

We empirically study the impact of interim rank on risk taking and performance using data on professionals competing in tournaments for large rewards. As we observe both the intended action and the performance of each participant, we can measure risk taking and performance separately. We present two key findings. First, risk taking exhibits an inverted-U relationship with interim rank. Revealing information on relative performance induces individuals trailing just behind the interim leaders to take greater risks. Second, competitors systematically underperform when ranked closer to the top, despite higher incentives to perform well. Disclosing information on relative ranking hinders interim leaders.

Suggested Citation

  • Christos Genakos & Mario Pagliero, 2012. "Interim Rank, Risk Taking, and Performance in Dynamic Tournaments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 782-813.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/668502
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    Cited by:

    1. Philipp Ager & Leonardo Bursztyn & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2016. "Killer Incentives: Status Competition and Pilot Performance during World War II," NBER Working Papers 22992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Genakos, Christos & Pagliero, Mario & Garbi, Eleni, 2015. "When pressure sinks performance: Evidence from diving competitions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 5-8.
    3. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2014. "Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank," CESifo Working Paper Series 4815, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Harb-Wu, Ken & Krumer, Alex, 2017. "Choking Under Pressure in Front of a Supportive Audience: Evidence from Professional Biathlon," Economics Working Paper Series 1717, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    5. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1759-1770 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2013. "Leading-effect vs. Risk-taking in Dynamic Tournaments: Evidence from a Real-life Randomized Experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics 15452, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    7. Grund, Christian & Höcker, Jan & Zimmermann, Stefan, 2010. "Risk Taking Behavior in Tournaments: Evidence from the NBA," IZA Discussion Papers 4812, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. González-Díaz, Julio & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2016. "Cognitive performance in competitive environments: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 40-52.
    9. Sila, Urban, 2009. "Can family-support policies help explain differences in working hours across countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28684, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Michela Maria Tincani, 2017. "Heterogeneous Peer Effects and Rank Concerns: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6331, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Subhasish Chowdhury & Oliver Gürtler, 2015. "Sabotage in contests: a survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 135-155, July.
    12. Iqbal, Hamzah & Krumer, Alex, 2017. "Discouragement Effect and Intermediate Prizes in Multi-Stage Contests: Evidence from Tennis’s Davis Cup," Economics Working Paper Series 1719, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    13. Michela Tincani, 2017. "Heterogeneous Peer Effects and Rank Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2017-006, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    14. René Böheim & Christoph Freudenthaler & Mario Lackner, 2016. "Gender Differences in Risk-Taking: Evidence from Professional Basketball," Economics working papers 2016-07, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    15. Hickman, Daniel C. & Metz, Neil E., 2015. "The impact of pressure on performance: Evidence from the PGA TOUR," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 319-330.
    16. Adams, Nathan R. & Waddell, Glen R., 2017. "Performance and Risk Taking under Threat of Elimination," IZA Discussion Papers 10977, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Christos Genakos & Mario Pagliero, 2012. "Interim Rank, Risk Taking, and Performance in Dynamic Tournaments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 782-813.
    18. Romain Gauriot & Lionel Page, 2014. "Does success breed success? A quasi-experiment on strategic momentum in dynamic contests," QuBE Working Papers 028, QUT Business School.
    19. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2016. "Media attention and betting markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 304-333.
    20. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Krumer, Alex & Shapir, Offer Moshe, 2017. "Take a Chance on ABBA," IZA Discussion Papers 10878, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. repec:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:412-427 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Krumer, Alex & Lechner, Michael, 2016. "First In First Win: Evidence on Unfairness of Round-Robin Tournaments in Mega-Events," Economics Working Paper Series 1611, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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