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Tournament incentives and match outcomes in women's professional tennis

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Our research examines the effect of prize money differentials in women's professional tennis tournaments on the probability that the favoured player wins the match. This study adds to the existing literature on tournament theory through its focus on Rosen's (1986) elimination-style, match play tournament model. We estimate a standard probit model using a unique data set containing detailed information on prize money, player-specific characteristics, and match play outcomes for all tournaments played during the 2004 tour sponsored by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). Our results support predictions by Rosen's tournament model. Larger prize money differentials have a positive, statistically significant effect on the favoured player's probability of winning the match. In addition, the number of stages remaining has a significant, negative effect on winning, consistent with tournament theory predictions associated with the number of contestants in a tournament.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA 2: Department of Economics, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN 55105, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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