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Interim Rank, Risk Taking, and Performance in Dynamic Tournaments

Christos Genakos and Mario Pagliero
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 120, No. 4 (August 2012), pp. 782-813
DOI: 10.1086/668502
Stable URL:
Page Count: 32
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We empirically study the impact of interim rank on risk taking and performance using data on professionals competing in tournaments for large rewards. As we observe both the intended action and the performance of each participant, we can measure risk taking and performance separately. We present two key findings. First, risk taking exhibits an inverted-U relationship with interim rank. Revealing information on relative performance induces individuals trailing just behind the interim leaders to take greater risks. Second, competitors systematically underperform when ranked closer to the top, despite higher incentives to perform well. Disclosing information on relative ranking hinders interim leaders.

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