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Sabotage in Tournaments: Making the Beautiful Game a Bit Less Beautiful

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  • Garicano, Luis
  • Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio

Abstract

We exploit an incentive change in professional soccer leagues aimed at encouraging more attacking and goal scoring to obtain evidence on the effect of stronger incentives on productive and destructive effort. Using as control the behavior of the same teams in a competition that experienced no changes in incentives, we provide differences-in-differences estimates of the effect of the incentive change on the behavior of teams. We find that, although teams increased offensive effort, they also increased destructive effort (`sabotage') substantially, resulting in no net change in scoring. When ahead, teams became more conservative, increasing their defenders, scoring less goals, and allowing fewer attempts to score by their opponents. We also find that teams that engage more in sabotage activities depress the attendance at their rival's home stadiums, and that indeed attendance suffered as a result of the incentive change. Thus, teams responded to stronger incentives, but in an undesirable way.

Suggested Citation

  • Garicano, Luis & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2005. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Making the Beautiful Game a Bit Less Beautiful," CEPR Discussion Papers 5231, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5231
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    Cited by:

    1. Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(1), pages 38-55, January.
    2. Helena Fornwagner, 2017. "Incentives to lose revisited: The NHL and its tournament incentives," Working Papers 2017-07, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    3. Loukas Balafoutas & Florian Lindner & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 425-441, November.
    4. Giancarlo Moschini, 2010. "Incentives And Outcomes In A Strategic Setting: The 3-Points-For-A-Win System In Soccer," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 65-79, January.
    5. Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2014. "Does the Home Advantage Depend on Crowd Support? Evidence from Same-Stadium Derbies," CSEF Working Papers 376, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    6. Glenn Dutcher & Daniela Gl�tzle-R�tzler & Dmitry Ryvkin, 2016. "Don't hate the player, hate the game: Uncovering the foundations of cheating in contests," Working Papers 2016-29, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    7. Grund, Christian & Höcker, Jan & Zimmermann, Stefan, 2010. "Risk Taking Behavior in Tournaments: Evidence from the NBA," IZA Discussion Papers 4812, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2009. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 4205, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Babatunde Buraimo & David Forrest & Robert Simmons, 2007. "The Twelfth Man? Refereeing Bias in English and German Soccer," Working Papers 0707, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    10. Subhasish Chowdhury & Oliver Gürtler, 2015. "Sabotage in contests: a survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 135-155, July.
    11. Süssmuth Bernd & Wagner Stefan, 2012. "A Market’s Reward Scheme, Media Attention, and the Transitory Success of Managerial Change," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 232(3), pages 258-278, June.
    12. Dur, Robert & Sol, Joeri, 2010. "Social interaction, co-worker altruism, and incentives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 293-301, July.
    13. Giacomo De Luca & Jeroen Schokkaert & Jo Swinnen, 2011. "Cultural Differences, Assimilation and Behavior: Player Nationality and Penalties in Football," LICOS Discussion Papers 29711, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    14. Stefan Wagner, 2010. "Managerial succession and organizational performance-evidence from the German Soccer League," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(6), pages 415-430.
    15. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews & John Schirm, 2010. "Tournaments and Office Politics: Evidence from a Real Effort Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 504-517, March.
    16. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Oechssler, Jörg & Shah, Anwar, 2015. "Managerial bonuses, subordinates’ disobedience, and coercion," Working Papers 0589, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    17. Dobson, Stephen & Goddard, John, 2010. "Optimizing strategic behaviour in a dynamic setting in professional team sports," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 205(3), pages 661-669, September.
    18. Miklos-Thal, Jeanine & Ullrich, Hannes, 2010. "Effort in Nomination Contests: Evidence from Professional Soccer," MPRA Paper 24340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Miklós-Thal, Jeanine & Ullrich, Hannes, 2009. "Nomination contests: theory and empirical evidence from professional soccer," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-027, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    20. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2013. "Sabotage in Contests: An Overview," CESifo Working Paper Series 4422, CESifo Group Munich.
    21. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2008. "How many winners are good to have?: On tournaments with sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 682-702, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentives; multitasking; sabotage; tournaments;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices

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