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Performance feedback in competitive product development

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Performance feedback is ubiquitous in competitive settings where new products are developed. This article introduces a fundamental tension between incentives and improvement in the provision of feedback. Using a sample of 4294 commercial logo design tournaments, I show that feedback reduces participation but improves the quality of subsequent submissions, with an ambiguous effect on high‐quality output. To evaluate this trade‐off, I develop a procedure to estimate agents' effort costs and simulate counterfactuals under alternative feedback policies. The results suggest that feedback on net increases the number of high‐quality ideas produced and is thus desirable for a principal seeking innovation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2017

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