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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2127310
 
 

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Performance Responses to Competition Across Skill-Levels in Rank Order Tournaments: Field Evidence and Implications for Tournament Design


Kevin J. Boudreau


London Business School

Constance E. Helfat


Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business

Karim Lakhani


Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group; Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society; Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science

Michael E. Menietti


Harvard-NASA Tournament Laboratory

August 8, 2013

Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 14-014

Abstract:     
Tournaments are widely used in the economy to organize production and innovation. We study individual contestant-level data on 2796 contestants in 774 software algorithm design contests with random assignment. Precisely conforming to theory predictions, the performance response to added contestants varies non-monotonically across contestants of different abilities; most respond negatively to competition; highest-skilled contestants respond positively. In counterfactual simulations, we interpret a number of tournament design policies (number of competitors, prize allocation and structure, divisionalization, open entry) as a means of reconciling non-monotonic incentive responses to competition, effectively manipulating the number and skills distribution of contestants facing one another.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

JEL Classification: D02, J4, L2, M5

working papers series


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Date posted: August 9, 2012 ; Last revised: August 8, 2013

Suggested Citation

Boudreau, Kevin J. and Helfat, Constance E. and Lakhani, Karim and Menietti, Michael E., Performance Responses to Competition Across Skill-Levels in Rank Order Tournaments: Field Evidence and Implications for Tournament Design (August 8, 2013). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 14-014. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2127310 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2127310

Contact Information

Kevin J. Boudreau
London Business School ( email )
Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
Constance E. Helfat
Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business ( email )
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
Karim R. Lakhani (Contact Author)
Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group ( email )
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6741 (Phone)
Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society ( email )
Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science ( email )
1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Michael E. Menietti
Harvard-NASA Tournament Laboratory ( email )
1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2607 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/mmenietti/
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