NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Jan Stoop

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Working Papers

March 2014On the Role of Group Size in Tournaments: Theory and Evidence from Lab and Field Experiments
with John List, Daan Van Soest, Haiwen Zhou: w20008
Both private and public organizations constantly grapple with incentive schemes to induce maximum effort from agents. We begin with a theoretical exploration of optimal contest design, focusing on the number of competitors. Our theory reveals a critical link between the distribution of luck and the number of contestants. We find that if there is considerable (little) mass on good draws, equilibrium effort is an increasing (decreasing) function of the number of contestants. Our first test of the theory implements a laboratory experiment, where important features of the theory can be exogenously imposed. We complement our lab experiment with a field experiment, where we rely on biological models complemented by economic models to inform us of the relevant theoretical predictions. In bo...

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