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Selection Tournaments, Sabotage, and Participation

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  • Münster, Johannes

Abstract

This paper studies sabotage in tournaments with at least three contestants, where the contestants know each other well. Every contestant has an incentive to direct sabotage specifically against his most dangerous rival. In equilibrium, contestants who choose a higher productive effort are sabotaged more heavily. This might explain findings from psychology, where victims of mobbing are sometimes found to be overachieving. Further, sabotage equalizes promotion chances. The effect is most pronounced if the production function is linear in sabotage, and the cost function depends only on the sum of all sabotage activities: in an interior equilibrium, who will win is a matter of chance, even when contestants differ a great deal in their abilities. This, in turn, has adverse consequences for who might want to participate in a tournament. Since better contestants anticipate that they will be sabotaged more strongly, it may happen that the most able stay out and the tournament selects one of the less able with probability one. I also study the case where some contestants are easy victims, i.e. easier to sabotage than others.

Suggested Citation

  • Münster, Johannes, 2006. "Selection Tournaments, Sabotage, and Participation," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 118, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:118
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    File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13433/1/118.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tournament; contest; sabotage; selection;

    JEL classification:

    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J29 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Other

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