Gambling in Risk-Taking Contests: Experimental Evidence
Christian Seel and
J. Philipp Reiss ()
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J. Philipp Reiss: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Working Paper Series from Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School
This paper investigates whether contest schemes induce excessive risk-taking by implementing in the laboratory a novel stopping task based on the contest model of Seel and Strack (2013). In this stylized setting, managers who face contest payoffs have an incentive to delay halting projects with negative drift, with the induced inefficiency being highest for a moderately negative expectation. The experimental design systematically varies the negative drift (between-subjects) and the payoff incentives (within-subject). We find evidence for excessive risk-taking in all our treatment conditions, with the non-monotonicity being at least as problematic as predicted. Contrary to the theoretical predictions, this aggregate pattern of behaviour is seen even without contest incentives. Further analysis suggests that many subjects display behaviour consistent with some intrinsic motivation for taking risk in the stopping task. This intrinsic motive and the strategic motive for excessive risk-taking appear to reinforce the non-monotonicity in subtly different ways. The experiment uncovers an interesting behavioural nuance in which contest incentives might crowd out an intrinsic inclination to gamble.
Keywords: Contests; Relative performance pay; Risk-taking Behaviour; Laboratory Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C92 D81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-ore
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Working Paper: Gambling in Risk-Taking Contests: Experimental Evidence (2020)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sus:susewp:1620
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