A contest is a situation in which individuals expend irretrievable resources to win valuable prize(s). ‘Sabotage’ is a deliberate and costly act of damaging a rival’s' likelihood of winning the contest. Sabotage can be observed in, e.g., sports, war, promotion tournaments, political or marketing campaigns. In this article, we provide a model and various perspectives on such sabotage activities and review the economics literature analyzing the act of sabotage in contests. We discuss the theories and evidence highlighting the means of sabotage, why sabotage occurs, and the effects of sabotage on individual players and on overall welfare, along with possible mechanisms to reduce sabotage. We note that most sabotage activities are aimed at the ablest player, the possibility of sabotage reduces productive effort exerted by the players, and sabotage may lessen the effectiveness of public policies, such as affirmative action, or information revelation in contests. We discuss various policies that a designer may employ to counteract sabotage activities. We conclude by pointing out some areas of future research.
|Number of pages||21|
|Early online date||2 Aug 2015|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Aug 2015|