Minimizing Shirking in Auctions and Tournaments


The present paper deals with two-player all pay contests in which a tie is due to slacking, showing that to reduce the likelihood of such an occurrence, slackers should be denied any reward, or even punished. The denial of reward, or the punishment, inflicted on substandard performers, may spur some players to bigger efforts, or induce others to avoid contests in which they are unable to meet standards. However denying any reward to those making small but not substandard efforts, would not raise the proportion of those making the maximum effort, while more competitors would abstain from any effort at all, detracting from overall performance. The point allocation rule suggested by this paper is thus shown to improve on its alternatives. The paper proposes changing the rules of point allocation in soccer, to reduce the incidence of non-scoring draws, often the outcome of bad playing or of extreme risk avoidance, expressed in purely defensive game strategies. Under the new rules, a win would award a team with three points, a scoring draw would entitle the teams to one point each, but neither team would receive any points for non-scoring draws. We show that this change would reduce the numbers of games ending in 0:0, while raising the numbers of goals in other games, thus boosting spectator enjoyment.

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C. Cohen and M. Schwartz, "Minimizing Shirking in Auctions and Tournaments," Theoretical Economics Letters, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 197-201. doi: 10.4236/tel.2013.34033.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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