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Learning and self-confidence in contests
[Lernen und Selbstvertrauen in Wettkämpfen]

Author

Listed:
  • Krähmer, Daniel

Abstract

The paper studies a repeated contest when contestants are uncertain about their true abilities. A favourable belief about one’s own ability (confidence) stimulates effort and increases the likelihood of success. Success, in turn, reinforces favourable beliefs. We consider a specific example in which this reinforcement mechanism implies that, with positive probability, players fail to learn their true abilities, and one player may eventually win the contest forever. As a consequence, persistent inequality arises, and the worse player may eventually prevail. Furthermore, confidence is self-serving in that it increases a player’s utility and the likelihood to be the long-run winner.

Suggested Citation

  • Krähmer, Daniel, 2003. "Learning and self-confidence in contests
    [Lernen und Selbstvertrauen in Wettkämpfen]
    ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2003-10, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200310
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/51130/1/376523212.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael Manove & A. Jorge Padilla, 1999. "Banking (Conservatively) with Optimists," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 324-350, Summer.
    2. de Meza, David & Southey, Clive, 1996. "The Borrower's Curse: Optimism, Finance and Entrepreneurship," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 375-386, March.
    3. Hans K. Hvide, 2002. "Tournament Rewards and Risk Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 877-898, October.
    4. Manove, M., 1995. "Entrepreneurs, Optimism, and the Competitive Edge," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 296.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    5. William A. Darity & Arthur H. Goldsmith, 1996. "Social Psychology, Unemployment and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
    6. Martin W. Cripps & Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady, 2002. "Strategic Experimentation: The Case of Poisson Bandits," CESifo Working Paper Series 737, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Eric, Van den Steen, 2002. "Skill or Luck? Biases of Rational Agents," Working papers 4255-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hayward, Mathew L.A. & Forster, William R. & Sarasvathy, Saras D. & Fredrickson, Barbara L., 2010. "Beyond hubris: How highly confident entrepreneurs rebound to venture again," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 569-578, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contest; self-confidence; belief reinforcement; incomplete learning; dynamic programming;

    JEL classification:

    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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