Economics professor secures UEA funding for research on competition for resources

Dr. Brock Stoddard, assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Economics, along with Dr. Abhijit Ramalingam, senior lecturer within the School of Economics at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, England, and Dr. James Walker, professor in Indiana University’s Department of Economics, received $6,563 in funding from the UEA for their project “The Market for Talent: Competition for Resources and Self-Governance.”

According to Stoddard, Ramalingam and Walker, most proposals for increasing team effort involve the addition of disciplining institutions, such as punishment or the alteration of incentives to modify behavior. The “Market for Talent” project seeks to investigate the case for such behavior modification methods and will focus on a feature that, according to Stoddard, is inherent in the production process — competition for resources.

“Teams often try to attract and retain additional members who can bring resources to their teams. Advantages of such a ‘market for talent’ are that it does not involve additional mechanisms and does not alter incentive structures. Yet, it has the potential to exert enough competitive pressure on teams to encourage greater effort in an attempt to attract new individuals,” Stoddard said.

In his comments about related research, Stoddard remarked, “The literature has thus far paid little attention to this source of competition and its potential as a solution to social dilemmas.”

In this project, Stoddard and his project collaborators will employ a laboratory experiment to examine the emergence of self-governance in teams faced with implicit market competition for the resources of individuals. Combined with the threat of ostracism and option of solo careers, Stoddard said the study will provide empirical evidence on the potential efficiency improvements from this market competition.

Published: Feb 1, 2018 8:51am