Effort in Nomination Contests: Evidence from Professional Soccer
In most promotion and hiring situations several agents compete for a limited number of attractive positions, assigned on the basis of the agents' relative reputations. Economic theory predicts that agents' effort incentives in such contests depend non-monotonically on their anticipated winning chances, but empirical evidence is lacking. We use panel data to study soccer players' responses to the (informal) nomination contests for being on a national team participating in the 2008 Euro Cup. The control group consists of players who work for the same clubs but are nationals of countries that did not participate in the Euro Cup. We fi�nd that nomination contest participation has substantial positive effects on the performances of players with intermediate chances of being nominated for their national team. Players whose nomination is close to certain perform worse than otherwise, particularly in duels that carry a high injury risk. For players without any recent national team appearances, we fi�nd no signifi�cant effects.
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