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Potential, Prizes and Performance: Testing Tournament Theory with Professional Tennis Data

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  • Sunde, Uwe

    () (University of Munich)

Abstract

This paper tests two hypotheses from the theory of elimination tournaments: (i) that uneven tournaments, where the contestants are ex ante heterogeneous, entail lower effort exertion; this is a prediction from agency theory that has not been tested empirically before; and (ii) whether incentives set through prizes matter for effort exertion; this assumption underlies any agency theory about elimination tournaments, and has been empirically tested in other contexts. The evidence obtained with data from professional tennis tournaments supports both the assumption that incentives matter, as well as the theoretical implications concerning uneven tournaments among heterogeneous contestants.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp947
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 841-864, October.
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    12. Klaassen F. J G M & Magnus J. R., 2001. "Are Points in Tennis Independent and Identically Distributed? Evidence From a Dynamic Binary Panel Data Model," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 96, pages 500-509, June.
    13. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
    14. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-1324, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benno Torgler & Markus Schaffner & Bruno S. Frey & Sascha L. Schmidt, 2008. "Looking Awkward When Winning and Foolish When Losing: Inequity Aversion and Performance in the Field," IEW - Working Papers 369, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Markus Schaffner & Benno Torgler, 2008. "Meet the Joneses: An Empirical Investigation of Reference Groups in Relative Income Position Comparisons," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 234, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, revised 17 Jun 2008.
    3. Torgler, Benno & Schmidt, Sascha L & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "The Power of Positional Concerns: A Panel Analysis," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt1z14v7zt, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    4. Paserman, M. Daniele, 2007. "Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players," CEPR Discussion Papers 6335, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Joep Sonnemans & Bas van der Klaauw, 2011. "Incentives versus Sorting in Tournaments: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 637-658.
    6. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Krumer, Alex & Rosenboim, Mosi & Shapir, Offer Moshe, 2017. "Choking under pressure and gender: Evidence from professional tennis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 176-190.
    7. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & Fran├žois Rycx, 2005. "Women and competition in elimination tournaments: evidence from professional tennis data," DULBEA Working Papers 05-19.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Benno Torgler & Sascha L. Schmidt & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Relative Income Position and Performance: An Empirical Panel Analysis," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-03, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    9. Benno Torgler & Markus Schaffner & Bruno S. Frey & Sascha L. Schmidt & Uwe Dulleck, 2008. "Inequality Aversion and Performance in and on the Field," NCER Working Paper Series 36, National Centre for Econometric Research.
    10. Jia, Hao & Skaperdas, Stergios & Vaidya, Samarth, 2013. "Contest functions: Theoretical foundations and issues in estimation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 211-222.
    11. Justina A.V. Fischer & Benno Torgler, 2006. "Does Envy Destroy Social Fundamentals? The Impact of Relative Income Position on Social Capital," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2006 2006-04, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentives in tournaments; tennis; uneven tournaments; elimination tournaments;

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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