IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Heterogeneous Contestants and Effort Provision in Tournaments - an Empirical Investigation with Professional Sports Data


  • Berger, Johannes
  • Nieken, Petra


We empirically investigate if tournaments between heterogeneous contestants are less intense. To test our hypotheses we use professional sports data from the TOYOTA Handball-Bundesliga, the major handball league in Germany. Using either differences in betting odds or rankings to measure ability differences, our results support standard tournament theory as we find a highly significant negative impact of the matchup's heterogeneity on joint teame efforts. However, further analysis shows that this overall decrease in efforts is almost entirely driven by the reaction of the ex-ante favorite team.

Suggested Citation

  • Berger, Johannes & Nieken, Petra, 2010. "Heterogeneous Contestants and Effort Provision in Tournaments - an Empirical Investigation with Professional Sports Data," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 325, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:325

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Victor Niederhoffer, 1965. "A New Look at Clustering of Stock Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39, pages 309-309.
    2. Stephanie Rosenkranz & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2007. "Reserve Prices in Auctions as Reference Points," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 637-653, April.
    3. David H. Reiley, 2006. "Field experiments on the effects of reserve prices in auctions: more Magic on the Internet," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 195-211, March.
    4. Bulow, Jeremy & Roberts, John, 1989. "The Simple Economics of Optimal Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1060-1090, October.
    5. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1233-1260.
    6. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-1284, December.
    7. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2007. "Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 81-104, Summer.
    8. Sonnemans, Joep, 2006. "Price clustering and natural resistance points in the Dutch stock market: A natural experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 1937-1950, November.
    9. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1093-1103, September.
    10. Krishna, Vijay, 2009. "Auction Theory," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780123745071.
    11. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-392, June.
    12. Trautmann, Stefan T. & Traxler, Christian, 2010. "Reserve prices as reference points - Evidence from auctions for football players at," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 230-240, April.
    13. Simonsohn, Uri & Karlsson, Niklas & Loewenstein, George & Ariely, Dan, 2008. "The tree of experience in the forest of information: Overweighing experienced relative to observed information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 263-286, January.
    14. Lucking-Reiley, David, 2000. "Auctions on the Internet: What's Being Auctioned, and How?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 227-252, September.
    15. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
    16. Carmon, Ziv & Ariely, Dan, 2000. " Focusing on the Forgone: How Value Can Appear So Different to Buyers and Sellers," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 360-370, December.
    17. Harris, Lawrence, 1991. "Stock Price Clustering and Discreteness," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(3), pages 389-415.
    18. Shogren, Jason F. & Seung Y. Shin & Dermot J. Hayes & James B. Kliebenstein, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 255-270, March.
    19. Kamins, Michael A & Dreze, Xavier & Folkes, Valerie S, 2004. " Effects of Seller-Supplied Prices on Buyers' Product Evaluations: Reference Prices in an Internet Auction Context," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(4), pages 622-628, March.
    20. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 890-907, Winter.
    21. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1996. "Optimal Reservation Prices in Auctions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1271-1283, September.
    22. Charles R. Plott & Kathryn Zeiler, 2007. "Exchange Asymmetries Incorrectly Interpreted as Evidence of Endowment Effect Theory and Prospect Theory?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1449-1466, September.
    23. Jeff T. Casey, 1995. "Predicting Buyer-Seller Pricing Disparities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(6), pages 979-999, June.
    24. Harry J. Paarsch & Han Hong, 2006. "An Introduction to the Structural Econometrics of Auction Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262162350, January.
    25. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-599, June.
    26. Edward Castronova, 2008. "A Test of the Law of Demand in a Virtual World: Exploring the Petri Dish Approach to Social Science," CESifo Working Paper Series 2355, CESifo Group Munich.
    27. Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-647, June.
    28. Arkes, Hal R. & Blumer, Catherine, 1985. "The psychology of sunk cost," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 124-140, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sandra Hentschel & Gerd Mühlheusser & Dirk Sliwka, 2012. "The Impact of Managerial Change on Performance. The Role of Team Heterogeneity," CESifo Working Paper Series 3950, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    tournament; heterogeneity; incentives; sportseconomics;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:325. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Tamilla Benkelberg). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.