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The Distribution of Talent across Contests Feedback in Higher Education

Ghazala Azmat and Marc Möller ()
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Ghazala Azmat: Queen Mary University of London and Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

No 789, Working Papers from Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance

Abstract: Do the contests with the largest prizes attract the most-able contestants? To what extent do contestants avoid competition? In this paper, we show, theoretically and empirically, that the distribution of abilities plays a crucial role in determining contest choice. Complete sorting exists only when the proportion of high-ability contestants is sufficiently small. As this proportion increases, high-ability contestants shy away from competition and sorting decreases, such that, reverse sorting becomes a possibility. We test our theoretical predictions with a large panel data set containing contest choice over twenty years. We use exogenous variation in the participation of highly-able competitors to provide empirical evidence for the relationship among prizes, competition, and sorting.

Keywords: Contests; Competition; Sorting; Incentives (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L20 M52 D02 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-hrm
Date: 2016-03
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