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The Predictive Power of Noisy Elimination Tournaments

  • Dmitry Ryvkin

An elimination tournament matches players pairwise and promotes the winners to a subsequent round where the procedure is repeated. In the presence of idiosyncratic noise the tournament turns into a probabilistic mechanism that reveals the ranking of players imperfectly. I assess theoretically the power of such a mechanism to determine the ex ante best player as the winner, as a function of the number of players, their distribution of type, and the noise level. I consider also various seeding strategies and show that for large and small noise (as compared to the variance of ability distribution among players), seeding and other control parameters of tournament design tend to play no role, whereas for intermediate noise level the predictive power depends strongly on the control parameters and therefore can be systematically manipulated by the principal.

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Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp252.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp252
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  1. O'Flaherty, B. & Siow, A., 1990. "Up or Out Rules in the Market for Lawers," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 90-10, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  2. Dmitry Ryvkin & Andreas Ortmann, 2004. "The Predictive Power of Noisy Round-Robin Tournaments," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp236, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  3. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  4. Alvin E. Roth, 2002. "The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1341-1378, July.
  5. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 1668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "Digging for Golden Carrots: An Analysis of Research Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 872-90, September.
  7. Baye, Michael R. & Hoppe, Heidrun C., 2003. "The strategic equivalence of rent-seeking, innovation, and patent-race games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 217-226, August.
  8. Reed, William J., 2001. "The Pareto, Zipf and other power laws," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 15-19, December.
  9. 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.
  10. Bognanno, Michael L, 2001. "Corporate Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 290-315, April.
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