Selecting the Best? Spillover and Shadows in Elimination Tournaments
We consider how past, current, and future competition within an elimination tournament affect the probability that the stronger player wins. We present a two-stage model that yields the following main results: (1) a shadow effect--the stronger the expected future competitor, the lower the probability that the stronger player wins in the current stage and (2) an effort spillover effect--previous effort reduces the probability that the stronger player wins in the current stage. We test our theory predictions using data from high-stakes tournaments. Empirical results suggest that shadow and spillover effects influence match outcomes and have been already been priced into betting markets.
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