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A Renewed Analysis of Cheating in Contests: Theory and Evidence from Recovery Doping

Sebastian Bervoets, Bruno Decreuse and Mathieu Faure ()

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Abstract: In rank-order tournaments, players have incentives to cheat in order to increase their probability of winning the prize. Usually, cheating is seen as a technology that allows individuals to illegally increase their best potential performances. This paper argues that cheating can alternatively be seen as a technology that ensures that the best performances are reached more often. We call this technology recovery doping and show that it yields new insights on the effects of cheating: recovery doping lowers performance uncertainty, thereby changing the outcome of the contest in favour of the best players. We develop this theory in a game with player heterogeneity and performance uncertainty and then study the results of the cross-country skiing World Cup between 1987 and 2006. In line with our theoretical predictions, race-specific rankings were remarkably stable during the 1990s, subsequently becoming more volatile. This pattern reflects the rise and fall of synthetic EPO and the emergence of blood testing and profiling.

Keywords: game theory; recovery doping; rank correlation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gth, nep-mic and nep-spo
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