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Is Emulation Good for You? The Ups and Downs of Rivalry


  • Daniel Léonard
  • Ngo Van Long


We model the emulation between two athletes whose goals are fixed by their coaches. The coaches in turn engage in a game of goal setting. We analyze the equilibriums of that game. For some range of parameter values, there are only mixed equilibriums, where one coach randomizes his goals while the other coach uses a pure strategy. We show that it is in an athlete's interest to have a stronger rival. Both athletes can gain if there is not a big gap between their ability levels. A very big gap, however, result in poorer performance of both. Nous étudions un phénomène d'émulation entre deux athlètes pour qui des objectifs sont axés par leur entraîneur. Cela conduit à un jeu stratégique entre les entraîneurs qui aboutit à un équilibre de Nash. Pour certaines valeurs des paramètres l'un joue une stratégie mixte tandis que l'autre joue une stratégie pure. On montre qu'il est très utile pour une athlète de se confronter à une autre athlète plus forte. Cela améliore la performance des deux. Si l'écart est trop grand, les conséquences sont très mauvaises pour les deux. Le vieil adage « Qui se ressemble s'assemble » se trouve validé.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Léonard & Ngo Van Long, 2008. "Is Emulation Good for You? The Ups and Downs of Rivalry," CIRANO Working Papers 2008s-02, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2008s-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1989. "Politically Contestable Rents And Transfers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 17-39, March.
    2. Clark Damon, 2010. "Selective Schools and Academic Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, February.
    3. James D. Dana, 2005. "Strategic Differentiation And Strategic Emulation In Games With Uncertainty," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 417-432, September.
    4. Kaufman, Bruce E., 1999. "Emotional arousal as a source of bounded rationality," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 135-144, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eriksson, Tor & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2009. "Feedback and incentives: Experimental evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 679-688, December.

    More about this item


    Emulation; Goal Setting; Émulation;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact

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