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Fighting alone or fighting for a team: Evidence from experimental pairwise contests

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Listed:
  • Lingbo Huang

    (Monash University)

  • Zahra Murad

    (University of Portsmouth)

Abstract

People who compete alone may entertain different psychological motivations from those who compete for a team. Using a real-effort experiment, we examine the behavioural consequences of these psychological motivations, absent strategic interdependence and uncertainty among team members. We exploit a dynamic pairwise team contest in which strategic uncertainties among team members play a minimised role in individual rational behaviour; and we create strategically-equivalent individual contests to isolate the pure psychological effects of team situation on individual competitive behaviour. We find that behaviour in individual contests and in sterile team contests follows a psychological momentum effect in which leaders work harder than trailers. In contrast, in team contests enriched with intra-team communication, behaviour follows a neutral effect. We discuss the implications of our results for theoretical modelling of contests and practical implications for the optimal design of team incentive schemes and personnel management.

Suggested Citation

  • Lingbo Huang & Zahra Murad, 2018. "Fighting alone or fighting for a team: Evidence from experimental pairwise contests," Working Papers in Economics & Finance 2018-06, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Business School, Economics and Finance Subject Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:pbs:ecofin:2018-06
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    File URL: http://repec.port.ac.uk/EconFinance/PBSEconFin_2018_06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Baptiste Vilain, 2018. "Three essays in applied economics," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/64devegb4f8, Sciences Po.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    individual versus team behaviour; real-effort experiment; pairwise team contest; best-of-three team contest; communication; psychological momentum effect;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D79 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Other
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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