Best-of-Three Contest Experiments: Strategic Versus Psychological Momentum
38 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2012 Last revised: 18 Dec 2012
Date Written: December 2, 2012
We conduct an experimental analysis of a best-of-three contest. Intermediate prizes lead to higher efforts, while increasing the role of luck (as opposed to effort) leads to lower efforts. Both intermediate prizes and luck reduce the probability of contest ending in two rounds. The patterns of players’ efforts and the probability that a contest ends in two rounds are consistent with ‘strategic momentum’, i.e., momentum generated due to strategic incentives inherent in the contest. We do not find evidence for ‘psychological momentum’, i.e., momentum which emerges when winning affects players’ confidence. Similar to previous studies of contests, we find significantly higher efforts than predicted and strong heterogeneity in effort between subjects.
Keywords: best-of-three contest, experiments, strategic momentum, psychological momentum
JEL Classification: C72, C91, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation