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Optimal Prizes in Dynamic Elimination Contests: An Experimental Analysis

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  • Stracke, Rudi
  • Höchtl, Wolfgang
  • Kerschbamer, Rudolf
  • Sunde, Uwe

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of different prize structures on the effort choices of participants in two-stage elimination contests. A format with a single prize is shown to maximize total effort over both stages, but induces low effort in stage 1 and high effort in stage 2. By contrast, a format that allocates the same total amount to multiple prizes in such a way that the predicted effort remains constant across stages yields lower total effort provision. Experimental evidence suggests that (i) total effort is higher in the single prize format, but only for risk-neutral subjects; (ii) effort is constant across stages in the format with multiple prizes, independently of risk-attitudes; and (iii) the runner-up prize in the multiple prize format increases stage-1 and decreases stage-2 efforts in line with the theoretical prediction.

Suggested Citation

  • Stracke, Rudi & Höchtl, Wolfgang & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sunde, Uwe, 2013. "Optimal Prizes in Dynamic Elimination Contests: An Experimental Analysis," VfS Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79883, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79883
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tanja H�rtnagl & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Rudi Stracke & Uwe Sunde, 2013. "Heterogeneity in Rent-Seeking Contests with Multiple Stages: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 2013-29, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    2. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Arjan Non & Willem Verbeke, 2015. "The Effects of Prize Spread and Noise in Elimination Tournaments: A Natural Field Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(3), pages 521-569.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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