Creativity Under Fire: The Effects of Competition on Creative Production

69 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2018 Last revised: 20 Jun 2021

See all articles by Daniel P. Gross

Daniel P. Gross

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2018

Abstract

Though fundamental to innovation and essential to many industries and occupations, individual creativity has received limited attention as an economic behavior and has historically proven difficult to study. This paper studies the incentive effects of competition on individuals' creative production. Using a sample of commercial logo design competitions, and a novel, content-based measure of originality, I find that intensifying competition induces agents to produce original, untested ideas over tweaking their earlier work, but heavy competition drives them to stop investing altogether. The results yield lessons for the management of creative workers and for the implementation of competitive procurement mechanisms for innovation.

Suggested Citation

Gross, Daniel P., Creativity Under Fire: The Effects of Competition on Creative Production (September 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w25057, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3250603

Daniel P. Gross (Contact Author)

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research ( email )

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