Early Round Upsets and Championship Blowouts

23 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2004  

Rick Harbaugh

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy; Indiana University - Department of Economics

Tilman Klumpp

University of Alberta, Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2004

Abstract

In equilibrium play of a two-round tournament we find that underdogs exert more effort in the opening round while favorites save more effort for the final. Ability differences between players are therefore compressed in the opening round so upsets are more likely, and amplified in the final so blowouts are more likely. Measures that reduce the need to strategically allocate effort across games make for a more exciting final but a less exciting opening round. Consistent with the model, introduction of a one-day rest period between regional semi-final and final matches in the NCAA men's basketball tournament was found to increase the favorite's victory margin in the semi-finals by about five points. Non-sports applications of the model include the allocation of resources across primaries and general elections by candidates and the allocation of resources across a career ladder by managers.

Keywords: Contest, tournament, all-pay auction

JEL Classification: L83, D72, D44

Suggested Citation

Harbaugh, Rick and Klumpp, Tilman, Early Round Upsets and Championship Blowouts (September 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=535765 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.535765

Rick Harbaugh (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-855-2777 (Phone)
812-855-3354 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bus.indiana.edu/riharbau/

Indiana University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wylie Hall
Bloomington, IN 47405-6620
United States

Tilman Klumpp

University of Alberta, Department of Economics ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R3
Canada

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