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Research Master Defense

Willingness to compete in a ”dirty” competition


  • Location
    Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam, room Shanghai
    Amsterdam
  • Date and time

    August 30, 2022
    16:00 - 17:00

Competitions in the workplace are often dirty. Competitors may sabotage their opponents or retaliate against winners. We know little about willingness to enter such competitions and how it varies across individuals. We conduct an online experiment to document that, first, people are excessively discouraged from entering competitions when there is a possibility that the opponent might play dirty. Second, we show that people are encouraged to enter competitions by the possibility of playing dirty themselves. Behind this average effect lie two opposing mechanisms. Many people who are willing to compete in the clean competition are discouraged from competing in dirty competitions. At the same time, many people who are not willing to face clean competition are encouraged to enter the competitions when they can play dirty. We also investigate how someone’s willingness to enter a dirty competition relates to their personality and beliefs