‘Doggedness’ or ‘disengagement’? An experiment on the effect of inequality in endowment on behaviour in team competitions

Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap, Abhijit Ramalingam, Siddharth Ramalingam, Brock V. Stoddard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Teams often suffer from a free rider problem with respect to individual contributions. That putting teams into competition with each other can mitigate this problem is an important recent insight. However, we know little about how inequality in endowment between teams might influence this beneficial effect from competition. We address this question with an experiment where teams contribute to a public good that then determines their chances of winning a Tullock contest with another team. The boost to efforts from competition disappears when inequality is high. This is mainly because the ‘rich’ ‘disengage’: they make no more contribution to a public good than they would when there is no competition. There is evidence that the ‘poor’ respond to moderate inequality ‘doggedly’, by expending more effort compared to competition with equality, but this ‘doggedness’ disappears too when inequality is high.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-93
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume120
Early online date20 Oct 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Keywords

  • public goods
  • experiment
  • team competition
  • inequality
  • doggedness
  • disengagement

Cite this