One Team Must Win, the Other Need Only Not Lose: An Experimental Study of an Asymmetric Participation Game

Authors: 
Gary Bornstein, Tamar Kugler and Shmuel Zamir
Abstract: 

We studied asymmetric competition between two (three-person) groups. Each group member received an initial endowment and had to decide whether or not to contribute it. The group with moreĀ  contributions won the competition and each of its members received a reward. The members of the losing group received nothing. The asymmetry was created by randomly and publicly selecting one group beforehand to be the winning group in the case of a tie. A theoretical analysis of thisĀ  asymmetric game generates two qualitatively different solutions, one in which members of the group that wins in the case of a tie are somewhat more likely to contribute than members of the group that loses, and another in which members of the group that loses in the case of a tie are much more likely to contribute than members of the group that wins. The experimental results are clearly in line with the first solution.

Date: 
May, 2003
Published in: 
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 18 (2005), 111-123
Number: 
317