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CEP discussion paper
When pressure sinks performance: evidence from diving competitions
Eleni Garbi, Christos Genakos and Mario Pagliero
April 2015
Paper No' CEPDP1345:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: J24; L83; M52; Z13

Tags: tournaments; incentives; choking under pressure

Tournaments are designed to enhance participants’ effort and productivity. However, ranking near the top may increase psychological pressure and reduce performance. We empirically study the impact of interim rank on performance using data from international diving tournaments. We find that competitors systematically underperform when ranked closer to the top, despite higher incentives to perform well.