NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Andrew Hillis

Harvard University
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Boston, MA 02163

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2016Crowdsourcing City Government: Using Tournaments to Improve Inspection Accuracy
with Edward L. Glaeser, Scott Duke Kominers, Michael Luca: w22124
Can open tournaments improve the quality of city services? The proliferation of big data makes it possible to use predictive analytics to better target services like hygiene inspections, but city governments rarely have the in-house talent needed for developing prediction algorithms. Cities could hire consultants, but a cheaper alternative is to crowdsource competence by making data public and offering a reward for the best algorithm. This paper provides a simple model suggesting that open tournaments dominate consulting contracts when cities have a reasonable tolerance for risk and when there is enough labor with low opportunity costs of time. We also illustrate how tournaments can be successful, by reporting on a Boston-based restaurant hygiene prediction tournament that we helped coordi...

Published: Edward L. Glaeser & Andrew Hillis & Scott Duke Kominers & Michael Luca, 2016. "Crowdsourcing City Government: Using Tournaments to Improve Inspection Accuracy," American Economic Review, vol 106(5), pages 114-118. citation courtesy of

 
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