The Queen’s Gambit: Explaining the Superstar Effect Using Evidence from Chess
53 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 7, 2021
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: Suggested Citation