IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Risk taking and performance in multistage tournaments: evidence from weightlifting competitions

  • Christos Genakos
  • Mario Pagliero

We analyze the impact of interim ranking on the risk taking and performance behaviour of professional athletes participating in international weightlifting competitions. Weightlifting competitions are multistage tournaments with the unique characteristic that the athletes must announce in advance the amount they intend to lift at each stage, thus allowing quantification of the riskiness of their choices. We present two key findings. First, risk taking exhibits an inverted-U relationship with rank: risk taking increases up to rank six, but athletes then revert to safer strategies towards the bottom of the ranking. Second, athletes systematically underperform when ranked closer to the top, despite higher incentives to perform well. An athlete is more than 30 percent less likely to lift the announced weight when ranked first than tenth. Athletes also underperform in relatively more prestigious competitions, when the competition is more intense, and when the potential gain from a successful lift is higher. Taken together, these findings suggest that athletes may systematically “choke under pressure”.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28599/
File Function: Open access version.
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 28599.

as
in new window

Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:28599
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Luís M. B. Cabral, 2003. "R&D Competition when firms Choose Variance," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 139-150, 03.
  2. Axel Anderson & Luís M. B. Cabral, 2007. "Go for broke or play it safe? Dynamic competition with choice of variance," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(3), pages 593-609, 09.
  3. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2006. "Incentives for managers and inequality among workers: Evidence from a firm level experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00213, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Courty, Pascal & Marschke, Gerald, 2002. "An Empirical Investigation of Gaming Responses to Explicit Performance Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 3164, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Robert Slonim & Alvin E. Roth, 1998. "Learning in High Stakes Ultimatum Games: An Experiment in the Slovak Republic," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 569-596, May.
  6. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
  7. Nieken, Petra & Sliwka, Dirk, 2008. "Risk-Taking Tournaments: Theory and Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3400, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael L. Bognanno, 1988. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," NBER Working Papers 2638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Goriaev, Alexei P. & Palomino, Frédéric & Prat, Andrea, 2001. "Mutual Fund Tournament: Risk Taking Incentives Induced By Ranking Objectives," CEPR Discussion Papers 2794, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Thomas J. Dohmen, 2010. "Do Professionals Choke Under Pressure?," Working Papers id:2742, eSocialSciences.
  11. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  12. Main, Brian G M & O'Reilly, Charles A, III & Wade, James, 1993. "Top Executive Pay: Tournament or Teamwork?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 606-28, October.
  13. 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.
  14. Knoeber, Charles R & Thurman, Walter N, 1994. "Testing the Theory of Tournaments: An Empirical Analysis of Broiler Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 155-79, April.
  15. Paul Oyer, 1998. "Fiscal Year Ends And Nonlinear Incentive Contracts: The Effect On Business Seasonality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 149-185, February.
  16. Chevalier, J. & Ellison, G., 1996. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Working papers 96-3, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:28599. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSERO Manager)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.