Stakes and motivation in tournaments: playing when there is nothing to play for but pride

Page, L. and Page, K. 2009. Stakes and motivation in tournaments: playing when there is nothing to play for but pride. Economic Analysis and Policy. 39 (3), pp. 455-464.

TitleStakes and motivation in tournaments: playing when there is nothing to play for but pride
AuthorsPage, L. and Page, K.
Abstract

Tournaments are an effective means of incentivising participants to ensure an optimal level of effort. However, situations can occur in tournaments where the final outcome of a given competitor does not depend on his/her future performance. Specifically, we study these specific situations in a data set of the group stages of European football club competitions from 1992 to 2009. We identify situations where teams are already sure to finish either first or last at the penultimate stage in the group. We show that such situations affect team performance in the last match, typically decreasing the performance of a team sure to finish first and increasing the performance of a team sure to finish last. The first finding is in line with the economic predictions yet provides interesting implications, namely that the schedule of the match order plays a significant role in the overall performance of the team. The second, counter-intuitive, finding is not well accommodated into the existing economics framework and thus we discuss two

alternative explanations, one based on social pressure and the other on pride.

JournalEconomic Analysis and Policy
Journal citation39 (3), pp. 455-464
ISSN0313-5926
YearDec 2009
PublisherEconomic Society of Australia Inc.
Web address (URL)http://www.eap-journal.com/archive/v39_i3_10-page.pdf
Publication dates
PublishedDec 2009

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