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The distribution of talent across contests

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  • Ghazala Azmat
  • Marc Möller

Abstract

Do the contests with the largest prizes attract the most able contestants? To what extent do contestants avoid competition? In this paper, we show, theoretically and empirically, that the distribution of abilities plays a crucial role in determining contest choice. Sorting exists only when the proportion of high-ability contestants is sufficiently small. As this proportion increases, contestants shy away from competition and sorting decreases, such that, reverse sorting becomes a possibility. We test our theoretical predictions using a large panel data set containing contest choice over three decades. We use exogenous variation in the participation of highly-able competitors to provide empirical evidence for the relationship among prizes, competition, and sorting.

Suggested Citation

  • Ghazala Azmat & Marc Möller, 2012. "The distribution of talent across contests," Economics Working Papers 1298, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1298
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Zhen & Vukina, Tomislav, 2017. "Sorting into Contests: Evidence from Production Contracts," ARE Working Papers 262930, North Carolina State University, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contests; sorting; ability; prize allocation.;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact

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