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Women and competition in elimination tournaments: evidence from professional tennis data

  • Thierry Lallemand
  • Robert Plasman
  • François Rycx

This paper examines how professional female tennisplayers react to: i) prize incentives and ii) heterogeneity in ex ante players’ abilities. It is found that a larger prize spread encourages women to increase effort, even when controlling for many tournament and player characteristics. Further results indicate that uneven contests lead favourites to win more games and underdogs to be less performing. They also show that the performance differential between players increases with the ranking differential. These findings suggest that the outcome of a match is more linked to players’ abilities than to players’ incentives to adjust effort according to success chances.

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File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/8038/1/rp-0141.pdf
File Function: rp-0141
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series DULBEA Working Papers with number 05-19.RS.

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Length: 40 p.
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by: DULBEA - Université libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles
Handle: RePEc:dul:wpaper:05-19rs
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://difusion.ulb.ac.be

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  1. Michael T. Maloney & Robert E. McCormick, 2000. "The Response of Workers to Wages in Tournaments," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(2), pages 99-123, May.
  2. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  3. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-15, September.
  4. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael L. Bognanno, 1988. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," NBER Working Papers 2638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Peter Von Allmen, 2001. "Is the Reward System in NASCAR Efficient?," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 2(1), pages 62-79, February.
  6. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  8. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  10. Maloney Michael T. & Terkun Kristina, 2002. "Road Warrior Booty: Prize Structures in Motorcycle Racing," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, April.
  11. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
  12. Sunde, Uwe, 2003. "Potential, Prizes and Performance: Testing Tournament Theory with Professional Tennis Data," IZA Discussion Papers 947, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Sue Fernie & David Metcalf, 1999. "It's Not What You Pay it's the Way that You Pay it and that's What Gets Results: Jockeys' Pay and Performance," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 13(2), pages 385-411, 06.
  14. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  15. James G. Lynch & Jeffrey S. Zax, 2000. "The Rewards to Running," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(4), pages 323-340, November.
  16. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael L. Bognanno, 1990. "The incentive effects of tournaments revisited: Evidence from the European PGA tour," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 74-88, February.
  17. Abrevaya, Jason, 2002. "Ladder tournaments and underdogs: lessons from professional bowling," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 87-101, January.
  18. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
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