Facing Your Opponents: Social Identification and Information Feedback in Contests

Journal of Conflict Resolution, Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2012 Last revised: 20 Jun 2014

Shakun D. Mago

University of Richmond - E. Claiborne Robins School of Business

Anya Savikhin Samek

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR); The University of Chicago

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University

Date Written: June 13, 2014

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the effect of social identification and information feedback on individual behavior in contests. In all treatments we find significant over-expenditure of effort relative to the standard theoretical predictions. Identifying subjects through photo display decreases wasteful effort. Providing information feedback about others’ effort does not affect the aggregate effort, but it decreases the heterogeneity of effort and significantly affects the dynamics of individual behavior. A behavioral model which incorporates a non-monetary utility of winning and relative payoff maximization explains significant over-expenditure of effort. It also suggests that decrease in ‘social distance’ between group members through social identification promotes pro-social behavior and decreases over-expenditure of effort, while improved information feedback decreases the heterogeneity of effort.

Keywords: contest, information, identification, over-dissipation, experiments

JEL Classification: C72, C91, D72, D74

Suggested Citation

Mago, Shakun D. and Samek, Anya Savikhin and Sheremeta, Roman M., Facing Your Opponents: Social Identification and Information Feedback in Contests (June 13, 2014). Journal of Conflict Resolution, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2080409 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2080409

Shakun Datta Mago

University of Richmond - E. Claiborne Robins School of Business ( email )

Richmond, VA 23173
United States

Anya Savikhin Samek (Contact Author)

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

The University of Chicago ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

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