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

  • Krähmer, Daniel
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    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.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance with number SP II 2003-10.

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    Date of creation: 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200310
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    1. de Meza, David & Southey, Clive, 1996. "The Borrower's Curse: Optimism, Finance and Entrepreneurship," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 375-86, March.
    2. Hans K. Hvide, 2002. "Tournament Rewards and Risk Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 877-898, October.
    3. Van den Steen, Eric, 2002. "Skill or Luck? Biases of Rational Agents," Working papers 4255-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    4. Martin W. Cripps & Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady, 2002. "Strategic Experimentation: The Case of Poisson Bandits," CESifo Working Paper Series 737, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Manove, M. & Padilla, A.J., 1997. "Banking (Conservatively) with Optimists," Papers 9718, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
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