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Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Balafoutas, Loukas

    () (University of Innsbruck)

  • Lindner, Florian

    () (University of Innsbruck)

  • Sutter, Matthias

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

Abstract

Many tournaments are plagued by sabotage among competitors. Typically, sabotage is welfare-reducing, but from an individual's perspective an attractive alternative to exerting positive effort. Yet, given its illegal and often immoral nature, sabotage is typically hidden, making it difficult to assess its extent and its victims. Therefore, we use data from Judo World Championships, where a rule change in 2009 basically constituted a natural experiment that introduced one costless opportunity for sabotage. In Judo, competitors can break an opponent's attack in an unsportsmanlike manner; these are seen as acts of sabotage. Based on a unique dataset of 1,422 fights, we find that the rule change in 2009 has led to a large increase in the use of sabotage. Moreover, sabotage is more likely to be employed by relatively less qualified individuals, and to be targeted at more qualified ones. From a survey among spectators, we show that sabotage is welfare-reducing.

Suggested Citation

  • Balafoutas, Loukas & Lindner, Florian & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6316, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6316
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    Cited by:

    1. Mueller-Langer Frank & Andreoli-Versbach Patrick, 2017. "Leading-Effect, Risk-Taking and Sabotage in Two-Stage Tournaments: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 237(1), pages 1-28, February.
    2. Sebastian Prediger & Björn Vollan & Benedikt Herrmann, 2013. "Resource Scarcity, Spite and Cooperation," GIGA Working Paper Series 227, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    3. 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.
    4. Dato, Simon & Nieken, Petra, 2014. "Gender differences in competition and sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 64-80.
    5. 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.
    6. Prediger, Sebastian & Vollan, Björn & Herrmann, Benedikt, 2014. "Resource scarcity and antisocial behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 1-9.
    7. Andreas Leibbrandt & Liang Choon Wang & Cordelia Foo, 2015. "Gender Quotas, Competitions, and Peer Review: Experimental Evidence on the Backlash Against Women," CESifo Working Paper Series 5526, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Brown, Alasdair & Chowdhury, Subhasish M., 2017. "The hidden perils of affirmative action: Sabotage in handicap contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 273-284.
    9. 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.
    10. Subhasish Chowdhury & Oliver Gürtler, 2015. "Sabotage in contests: a survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 135-155, July.
    11. repec:eee:pubeco:v:152:y:2017:i:c:p:143-153 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Danilov, Anastasia & Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2014. "Helping in Teams," IZA Discussion Papers 8707, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Agnes Baeker & Mario Mechtel, 2015. "Peer Settings Induce Cheating on Task Performance," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201506, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    14. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Krumer, Alex & Shtudiner, Ze'ev, 2017. "Psychological momentum and gender," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 66-81.
    15. Jeffrey Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John List, 2016. "Wage Contracts and Workplace Misbehaviors," Natural Field Experiments 00583, The Field Experiments Website.
    16. repec:elg:eechap:15325_9 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Jeffrey A. Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2016. "The Effects of Wage Contracts on Workplace Misbehaviors: Evidence from a Call Center Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 22342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Jeffrey Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John List, 2017. "Using Behavioral Economics to Curb Workplace Misbehaviors: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00617, The Field Experiments Website.
    19. Herrera, Helios & Reuben, Ernesto & Ting, Michael M., 2017. "Turf wars," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 143-153.
    20. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Oechssler, Jörg & Shah, Anwar, 2015. "Managerial bonuses, subordinates’ disobedience, and coercion," Working Papers 0589, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    21. Karol Kempa & Hannes Rusch, 2016. "Misconduct and Leader Behaviour in Contests – New Evidence from European Football," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201629, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    22. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2013. "Sabotage in Contests: An Overview," CESifo Working Paper Series 4422, CESifo Group Munich.

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    Keywords

    tournaments; sabotage; Judo; natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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