Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 633–658 | Cite as

First-mover advantage in round-robin tournaments

  • Alex Krumer
  • Reut Megidish
  • Aner Sela
Original Paper


We study round-robin tournaments with either three or four symmetric players whose values of winning are common knowledge. With three players there are three rounds, each of which includes one pair-wise game such that each player competes in two rounds only. The player who wins two games wins the tournament. We characterize the subgame perfect equilibrium and show that each player’s expected payoff and probability of winning is maximized when he competes in the first and the last rounds. With four players there are three rounds, each of which includes two sequential pair-wise games where each player plays against a different opponent in every round. We again characterize the subgame perfect equilibrium and show that a player who plays in the first game of each of the first two rounds has a first-mover advantage as reflected by a significantly higher winning probability as well as by a significantly higher expected payoff than his opponents.


  1. Baye M, Kovenock D, de Vries C (1996) The all-pay auction with complete information. Econ Theory 8:291–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker G (1983) A theory of competition among pressure groups for political influence. Q J Econ 98(3):371–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dasgupta P (1986) The theory of technological competition. In: Stiglitz JE, Mathewson GF (eds) New developments in the analysis of market structure. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 519–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. David H (1959) Tournaments and paired comparisons. Biometrika 46:139–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Glenn W (1960) A comparison of the effectiveness of tournaments. Biometrika 47:253–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gradstein M, Konrad K (1999) Orchestrating rent seeking contests. Econ J 109:536–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Groh C, Moldovanu B, Sela A, Sunde U (2012) Optimal seedings in elimination tournaments. Econ Theory 49:59–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hillman A, Riley J (1989) Politically contestable rents and transfers. Econ Polit 1:17–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Konrad K, Leininger W (2007) The generalized Stackelberg equilibrium of the all-pay auction with complete information. Rev Econ Design 11(2):165–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kovenock D, Roberson B (2009) Is the 50-state strategy optimal? J Theor Polit 21(2):213–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rosen S (1986) Prizes and incentives in elimination tournaments. Am Econ Rev 74:701–715Google Scholar
  12. Searles D (1963) On the probability of winning with different tournament procedures. J Am Stat Assoc 58:1064–1081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Wright B (1983) The economics of invention incentives: patents, prizes, and research contracts. Am Econ Rev 73(4):691–707Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss Institute for Empirical Economic Research (SEW)University of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Applied Economics and Department of Managing Human ResourcesSapir Academic CollegeM.P. Hof AshkelonIsrael
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

Personalised recommendations