Participants of dynamic competition games may prefer to play with the rules of the game by systematically withholding effort in the beginning. Such behavior is referred to as sandbagging. I consider a two-period con- test between heterogeneous players and analyze potential sandbagging of high-ability participants in the first period. Such sandbagging can be ben- eficial to avoid second-period matches against other high-ability opponents. I characterize the conditions under which sandbagging leads to a coordina- tion problem, similar to that of the battle-of-the sexes game. Moreover, if players' abilities have a stronger impact on the outcome of the first-period contest than effort choices, mutual sandbagging by all high-ability players can arise.
ecoordination problem dynamic contest heterogeneous contestants withholding effort