The Queen’s Gambit: Explaining the Superstar Effect Using Evidence from Chess

53 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2021

See all articles by Eren Bilen

Eren Bilen

University of South Carolina

Alexander Matros

Moore School of Business

Date Written: March 7, 2021

Abstract

Superstars exist in classrooms and workplaces. On the one hand, superstars might intimidate others, forcing their peers to exert less effort. On the other hand, superstars might encourage others because their participation in a competition encourages everybody to “step up” their game. In this study, we analyze direct and indirect effects of a superstar on their peers using evidence from chess. We find that the direct superstar effect is always negative, but the indirect superstar effect depends on the intensity of the superstar. If the skill gap between the superstar and the rest is small, there is a positive peer effect. However, when the skill gap is large, the indirect effect is negative.

Keywords: superstar, tournament, effort, chess

JEL Classification: M52, J3, J44, D3

Suggested Citation

Bilen, Eren and Matros, Alexander, The Queen’s Gambit: Explaining the Superstar Effect Using Evidence from Chess (March 7, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3799396 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3799396

Eren Bilen (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina ( email )

1014 Greene St
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Alexander Matros

Moore School of Business ( email )

1014 Greene St
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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