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

Strive to be first or avoid being last: An experiment on relative performance incentives

  • E. Glenn Dutcher

    ()

  • Loukas Balafoutas

    ()

  • Florian Lindner

    ()

  • Dmitry Ryvkin

    ()

  • Matthias Sutter

    ()

Managers often use tournaments which motivate workers to compete for the top, compete to avoid the bottom, or both. In this paper we compare the effectiveness and efficiency of the corresponding incentive schemes. To do so, we utilize optimal contracts in a principal-agent setting, using a Lazear-Rosen type model that predicts equal effort and efficiency levels for the three mechanisms with the appropriate distribution of prizes. We test the model's predictions in a laboratory experiment and find that a mechanism which incorporates both competition for the top and away from the bottom produces the highest effort from agents, especially in contests of a relatively larger size. Avoiding being last is shown to produce the lowest variance of effort, be more effective and, in larger contests, more efficient than competing for the top. Finally, we show that behavior in all mechanisms is consistent with basic directional and reinforcement learning.

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://eeecon.uibk.ac.at/wopec2/repec/inn/wpaper/2013-08.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck in its series Working Papers with number 2013-08.

as
in new window

Length: 45
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2013-08
Contact details of provider: Postal: Universitätsstraße 15, A - 6020 Innsbruck
Phone: 0512/507-7151
Fax: 0512/507-2788
Web page: http://www.uibk.ac.at/fakultaeten/volkswirtschaft_und_statistik/index.html.en
Email:


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. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2007. "Personnel Economics," NBER Working Papers 13480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner & Shi, Xianwen, 2008. "Carrots and Sticks: Prizes and Punishments in Contests," CEPR Discussion Papers 6770, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1990. "Asymmetric Tournaments, Equal Opportunity Laws And Affirmative Action: Some Experimental Result," Working Papers 90-14, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. 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.
  5. Timothy N. Cason & William A. Masters & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2010. "Entry Into Winner-Take-All And Proportional-Prize Contests:An Experimental Study," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1231, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  6. O'Flaherty, Brendan & Siow, Aloysius, 1995. "Up-or-Out Rules in the Market for Lawyers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 709-35, October.
  7. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2006. "Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments," Post-Print halshs-00175041, HAL.
  8. Pablo Casas-Arce & F. Asís Martínez-Jerez, 2009. "Relative Performance Compensation, Contests, and Dynamic Incentives," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(8), pages 1306-1320, August.
  9. Haigner, Stefan & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Choosing the Stick or the Carrot? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," CEPR Discussion Papers 5497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 1668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. David Dickinson, . "The carrot vs. the stick in work team motivation," Working Papers 2000-06, Utah State University, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  14. Robert Akerlof & Richard Holden, 2012. "The nature of tournaments," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 289-313, October.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  16. Alannah Orrison & Andrew Schotter & Keith Weigelt, 2004. "Multiperson Tournaments: An Experimental Examination," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(2), pages 268-279, February.
  17. 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 504-17, March.
  18. Dechenaux, Emmanuel & Kovenock, Dan & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2012. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-109, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  19. Sunde, Uwe, 2009. "Heterogeneity and performance in tournaments: A test for incentive effects using professional tennis data," Munich Reprints in Economics 19585, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  20. Sheremeta, Roman, 2009. "Experimental Comparison of Multi-Stage and One-Stage Contests," MPRA Paper 49884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Konrad, Kai A., 2009. "Strategy and Dynamics in Contests," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199549603, March.
  22. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  23. Gradstein, Mark & Konrad, Kai A, 1999. "Orchestrating Rent Seeking Contests," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 536-45, October.
  24. Selten, Reinhard & Stoecker, Rolf, 1986. "End behavior in sequences of finite Prisoner's Dilemma supergames A learning theory approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-70, March.
  25. Brit Grosskopf, 2003. "Reinforcement and Directional Learning in the Ultimatum Game with Responder Competition," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 141-158, October.
  26. Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2005. "Combining Monetary and Social Sanctions to Promote Cooperation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 649-660, July.
  27. Dmitry Ryvkin & Andreas Ortmann, 2008. "The Predictive Power of Three Prominent Tournament Formats," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(3), pages 492-504, March.
  28. John List & Daan Van Soest & Jan Stoop & Haiwen Zhou, 2014. "On the Role of Group Size in Tournaments: Theory and Evidence from Lab and Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 20008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
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:inn:wpaper:2013-08. 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: (Janette Walde)

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.