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Effort Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments

Author

Listed:
  • Tor Eriksson

    (Department of economics)

  • Sabrina Teyssier

    (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS LSH - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS LSH - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

When exogenously imposed, rank-order tournaments have incentive properties but their overall efficiency is reduced by a high variance in performance (Bull, Schotter, and Weigelt 1987). However, since the efficiency of performance-related pay is attributable both to its incentive effect and to its selection effect among employees (Lazear, 2000), it is important to investigate the ex ante sorting effect of tournaments. This paper reports results from an experiment analyzing whether allowing subjects to self-select into different payment schemes helps in reducing the variability of performance in tournaments. We show that when the subjects choose to enter a tournament, the average effort is higher and the between-subject variance is substantially lower than when the same payment scheme is imposed. Mainly based on the degree of risk aversion, sorting is efficiency-enhancing since it increases the homogeneity of the contestants. We suggest that the flexibility of the labor market is an important condition for a higher efficiency of relative performance pay.

Suggested Citation

  • Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Effort Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments," Post-Print halshs-00142876, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00142876
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00142876
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

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    2. Ertaç, Seda & Hortaçsu, Ali & Roberts, James W., 2011. "Entry into auctions: An experimental analysis," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 168-178, March.

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    Keywords

    experiment; Incentives; performance pay; selection; tournament; expérience; incitations; rémunération à la performance; tournoi; tri;
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