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Three Prominent Tournament Formats: Predictive Power and Costs


  • Dmitry Ryvkin
  • Andreas Ortmann


We analyze tournaments of heterogeneous players from an organizer’s perspective. Using a simple model of a noisy tournament, we demonstrate how the likelihood of selecting the best player, here termed the “predictive power” of a tournament, depends on the tournament format, the distribution of players’ types, and the overall noise level. We formalize the organizer’s decision problem for varying time and measurement costs and compare the predictive power of three widely used tournament formats – contests, binary elimination tournaments, and round-robin tournaments. We show which formats are preferred in the various scenarios and find that for certain parameter constellations, certain formats are not viable.

Suggested Citation

  • Dmitry Ryvkin & Andreas Ortmann, 2006. "Three Prominent Tournament Formats: Predictive Power and Costs," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp303, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp303

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ryvkin, Dmitry, 2010. "The selection efficiency of tournaments," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 206(3), pages 667-675, November.

    More about this item


    Tournaments; Design; Predictive power;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory

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