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The effect of losing and winning on cheating and effort in repeated competitions

Sarah Necker and Fabian Paetzel

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2023, vol. 98, issue C

Abstract: Competitive rewards are often assigned on a regular basis, e.g., in annual salary negotiations or employee-of-the-month schemes. The repetition of competitions can imply that opponents are matched based on earlier outcomes. Using a real-effort experiment, we examine how cheating and effort evolve in two rounds of competitions in which subjects compete with different types of opponents in the second round (random/based on the first-round outcome). We find that (i) losing causes competitors to increase cheating in the second round while winning implies a tendency to reduce cheating. A similar effect is found with regard to effort, as losers increase effort to a larger extent than winners. (ii) Competitor matching does not significantly affect behavior.

Keywords: Cheating; Effort; Competition; Competitor; Social recognition; Laboratory experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 C92 J28 J33 M52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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Working Paper: The Effect of Losing and Winning on Cheating and Effort in Repeated Competitions (2022) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2023.102655

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