References (37)


Citations (2)



The N-Effect: More Competitors, Less Competition

Stephen M. Garcia

University of Michigan

Avishalom Tor

Notre Dame Law School; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law

July 1, 2009

Psychological Science, Vol. 20, pp. 871-877, 2009

The present analysis introduces the N-Effect - the discovery that increasing the number of competitors (N) can decrease competitive motivation. Studies 1a-b found evidence that average test scores (e.g., SAT scores) fall as the average number of test-takers at test-taking venues increases. Study 2 found that individuals trying to finish an easy quiz among the top 20 percent in terms of speed finished significantly faster if they believed they were competing in a pool of 10 versus 100 other people. Using a social comparison orientation (SCO) scale, Study 3 showed the N-Effect occurs strongly among those high in SCO and weakly among those low in SCO. Study 4 directly linked the N-Effect to social comparison, ruling out the "ratio-bias" and finding that social comparison becomes less important as N increases. Finally, Study 5 found the N-Effect is mediated by social comparison. Limitations, future directions, and implications are discussed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: Social comparison, competition, motivation, behavioral economics

JEL Classification: C7, D2, D7, K2, L2, L4, I2

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: November 25, 2008 ; Last revised: July 21, 2009

Suggested Citation

Garcia, Stephen M. and Tor, Avishalom, The N-Effect: More Competitors, Less Competition (July 1, 2009). Psychological Science, Vol. 20, pp. 871-877, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1307223

Contact Information

Stephen M. Garcia (Contact Author)
University of Michigan ( email )
741 Dennison Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-2561 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/stephen.garcia
Avishalom Tor
Notre Dame Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law ( email )
Mount Carmel
Haifa, IN IN 31905
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 5,653
Downloads: 568
Download Rank: 31,681
References:  37
Citations:  2