Contests for Status
We study the optimal design of organizations under the assumption that agents in a contest care about their relative position. A principal determines the number and size of status categories in order to maximize output. We first consider the pure status case without tangible prizes. Our results connect the optimal partition in status categories to properties of the distribution of ability among contestants. The top status category always contains a unique element. For distributions that have an increasing failure rate (IFR), a proliferation of status classes is optimal, whereas the optimal partition involves only two categories if the distribution of abilities is sufficiently concave. Moreover, for IFR distributions, a coarse partition with two status categories achieves at least half of the output obtained in the optimal partition with many categories. Finally, if status is derived solely from monetary rewards, we show that the optimal partition in status classes contains only two categories.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2001.
"The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 542-558, June.
- Bognanno, Michael L, 2001. "Corporate Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 290-315, April.
- Andrew Postlewaite, .
""The Social Basis of Interdependent Preferences'',"
CARESS Working Papres
97-14, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- Fershtman, Chaim & Weiss, Yoram, 1993.
"Social Status, Culture and Economic Performance,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(419), pages 946-59, July.
- Fershtman, C. & Weiss, Y., 1991. "Social Status , Culture and Economic Performance," Papers 32-91, Tel Aviv.
- Chaim Fershtman & Yoram Weiss, 1991. "Social Status, Culture and Economic Performance," Discussion Papers 1007, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919, November.
- Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979.
"Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts,"
NBER Working Papers
0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brown, Gordon D. A. & Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J. & Qian, Jing, 2005. "Does Wage Rank Affect Employees' Wellbeing?," IZA Discussion Papers 1505, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Milton Friedman, 1953. "Choice, Chance, and the Personal Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 277.
- Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
- Green, Jerry & Stokey, Nancy, 1983.
"A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts,"
3203644, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status In Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188, February.
- Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-28, September.
- Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004.
"Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
- Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," ESE Discussion Papers 92, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
- Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-73, June.
- Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
- Larry Samuelson, 2004. "Information-Based Relative Consumption Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 93-118, 01.
- Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos, 2004. "Grading Exams: 100, 99, ..., 1 or A, B, C? Incentives in Games of Status," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1467, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-57, July.
- Rick Harbaugh & Tatiana Kornienko, 2000. "Local Status and Prospect Theory," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-38, Claremont Colleges.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Ivan Werning, 2005. "The Equilibrium Distribution of Income and the Market for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 282-310, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:115:y:2007:p:338-363. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.