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Tug-of-War in the Laboratory

Author

Listed:
  • Cary Deck

    () (Department of Economics, University of Arkansad and Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

  • Roman M. Sheremeta

    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University)

Abstract

Tug-of-war is a multi-battle contest often used to describe extended interactions in economics, management, political science, and other disciplines. While there has been some theoretical work, there is scant empirical evidence regarding behavior in a tug-of-war game. To the best of our knowledge, this paper provides the first experimental study of the tug-of-war. The results show notable deviations of behavior from theory. In the first battle of the tug-of-war, subjects exert fewer resources, while in the follow-up battles, they exert more resources than predicted. Also, contrary to the theoretical prediction, resource expenditures tend to increase in the duration of the tug-of-war. Finally, extending the margin necessary to win the tug-of-war causes more discouragement than either a reduction in the prize or greater impatience despite all three having the same expected effect. Potential behavioral explanations for these findings are also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Cary Deck & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2015. "Tug-of-War in the Laboratory," Working Papers 15-14, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:15-14
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tug-of-war; all-pay auction; multi-stage contest; laboratory experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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