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Incentives to Quit in Men’s Professional Tennis: An Empirical Test of Tournament Theory

By Will Walker

This paper studies the influence of incentives on quitting behaviors in professional men’s tennis tournaments and offers broader implications to pay structures in the labor market. Precedent literature established that prize incentives and skill heterogeneity can impact player effort exertion. Prize incentives include prize money and indirect financial rewards (ranking points). Players may also exert less effort when there is a significant difference in skill between the match favorite and the match underdog. Results warrant three important conclusions. First, prize incentives (particularly prize money) do influence a player’s likelihood of quitting. Results on skill heterogeneity are less conclusive, though being the “match favorite” could reduce the odds of quitting. Finally, match underdogs and “unseeded” players may be especially susceptible to the influence of prize incentives when considering whether to quit.

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Advisors: Peter Arcidiacono and Grace Kim | JEL Codes: J41, J31, J32, J33, M12, M51, M52

Determinants of Franchise Value in the National Basketball Association

By Matthew Van Liedekerke

Franchise values in the National Basketball Association (NBA) have more than tripled over the last five years, with the average franchise worth $1.36 billion. Using panel data on NBA franchises between 2009 and 2016, this paper finds that market, performance, star players, and brand are significant determinants of franchise value at the team level and the NBA’s television contract is the primary driver of league-wide franchise value appreciation. The valuation methodologies used in this paper predict that a franchise in Seattle would be worth $1.4 billion in 2017, which could inform the NBA’s decision on expansion.

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Advisor: Connel Fullenkamp | JEL Codes: Z2, Z23, G32

Game Theory and The World Marathon Majors

By Benjamin Jones

The World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series Prize was enacted in 2006 as a million dollar prize handed out annually to the top man and woman competing at five of the most important marathons. This paper considers the motivations behind setting up this prize, as well as the theoretical rationale for its existence and whether the empirical data supports these results. We find that the game theory model supports the ideas that the World Marathon Majors organizers state as their goals in creating the prize, but at the same time, there is not much empirical support as of yet to support any quantifiable changes within marathoning in the past few years. The regressions do not produce statistically significant data for finishing times decreasing even though the world record has been broken three times in these races since the implementation of the WMM. This may be due to the small number of observations and the fact that the series is so new. However, there are other areas of interest, such as an increase in World Record-breaking times or an increase in overall publicity, that may justify such a lucrative prize for these races. These topics are not included within the regressions and could be an area for further study.

 

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Advisor: Curtis Taylor, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: C7, C73, L83 | Tagged: Game Theory, Marathon, Sports Economics, Tournament Theory

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