Dutcher, E. Glenn Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela Ryvkin, Dmitry
Year of Publication:
Working Papers in Economics and Statistics 2016-29
Contests are meant to attract the best performers and incentivize high effort, however, they may also attract cheaters who try to win via illicit means which crowds out the best performers. We use a laboratory experiment to explore the role of self-selection in contests with a possibility of lying in a real effort task. Contrary to common wisdom, we do not find evidence that contests disproportionately attract intrinsic cheaters. However, we find that contests fail at selecting the best performers, as no difference is observed in the actual or perceived ability of those who selected into the contest versus those who selected into a comparable noncompetitive pay scheme.