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On the competition of asymmetric agents

Harbring, C.; Luenser, G.K.; (2008) On the competition of asymmetric agents. German Economic Review , 9 (3) pp. 373-395. 10.1111/j.1468-0475.2008.00438.x.

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Rank-order tournaments are usually implemented in organizations to provide incentives for eliciting employees' effort and/or to identify the agent with the higher ability, for example in promotion tournaments. We close a gap in the literature by experimentally analyzing a ceteris paribus variation of the prize spread – being the major design feature of tournaments – in a symmetric and an asymmetric setting. We find that effort significantly increases with the prize spread as predicted by standard theory. However, only for sufficiently large prize spreads weak players competing against strong players strain themselves all the more and sorting of agents is feasible.

Type: Article
Title: On the competition of asymmetric agents
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0475.2008.00438.x
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0475.2008.00438.x
Language: English
Keywords: Tournament design, sorting, work incentives, heterogeneity, experiments
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Economics
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/17451
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