Contests & Conflict | 08/16/2023 | 04:00 PM
Winning ways: How tournament incentives shape risk-taking decisions

Speaker: Laura Liu

Date & Time: Los Angeles (7 am), Cincinnati (10 am), Bath (3 pm), Munich (4 pm), Beijing (10 pm), Singapore (10 pm), Sydney (August 17, 12 am)

Laura Liu will present the paper titled "Winning Ways: How tournament incentives shape risk-taking decisions" (joint work with Dawei Fang, Changxia Fe, Greg Kubitz, Thomas Noe, and Lionel Page).

This talk is part of the Global Seminar on Contests & Conflict, an online seminar series with researchers from across the world. You can sign up to the Global Network to get information and invitations (including the Zoom Link for each event) about the Global Seminar hereMax-Planck-Institut für Steuerrecht und Öffentliche Finanzen: Global Seminar on Contests & Conflict (

You can directly access the event here:


Abstract of the Paper:
In competitions for rank-based rewards, how does the structure of rewards affect risk-taking? We answer this question both theoretically and experimentally, using a framework where tournament-incentivized agents can make arbitrary, mean-preserving changes in their random performance. We derive the unique equilibrium performance distribution under different contest structures - the value of prizes and contest size specifically. Using an interactive distribution builder, our laboratory experiments confirm our main theoretical predictions: Increasing the real-gain inequality of prizes or adding contestants increases the dispersion of the distribution; convexifying the prize schedule increases both dispersion and skewness, even though the observed dispersion and skewness are generally lower than the predicted values.  

Chair: Lionel Page, Co-Chair: Tracy Liu and Qiang Fu

Contact Person

Event Team

Max-Planck-Institut für Steuerrecht und Öffentliche Finanzen

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80539 München

Phone: +49-89-24246-5255
Fax: +49-89-24246-5299