Daniel P. Gross, 20 January 2019

Creativity, despite its importance, is rarely studied by economists. The column uses the outcome of design competitions to evaluate whether positive ratings and strong competition spur creativity. Positive feedback with little competition reduces creativity, while the presence of small numbers of highly rated competitors increases it. But as the numbers of strong competitors increases, designers are increasingly likely to give up entirely.

Mario Lackner, Rudi Stracke, Uwe Sunde, Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 12 March 2016

Decision makers are typically assumed to be fully rational and forward looking. There is very little empirical evidence, however, on whether decision makers take account of future states of the world in strategic interactions. This column presents research on playoff matches in professional basketball to investigate whether teams are forward looking. The findings show that teams react strategically to variation in the ability of their expected future opponent when competing in earlier stages of the tournament. 

Dmitry Dagaev, Alex Suzdaltsev, 13 September 2015

Designing a tournament to keep each game or round as exciting as possible for spectators is, as you might imagine, complex and nuanced. Yet, most sporting tournaments use a basic ‘knock-out’ model, and have done for years. This column argues that tournament organisers ought to be more creative, and illustrates a model and examples suggesting that tournament organisers should not confine themselves to tradition. Choosing the proper scheme is a hard but feasible goal for tournament designers.

Dmitry Dagaev, Konstantin Sonin, 10 March 2013

In sport tournaments, the rules are presumably structured in a way that any team cannot be better off (e.g., to advance to the next round of competition) by losing instead of winning a game. Starting with a real-world example, the authors demonstrate that the existing national rules of awarding places for the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League might produce a situation where a team will be strictly better off by losing a game.

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