We arranged seventy-five workers (46.7% women, mean age = 33.7) in 5 groups of 15 to participate to 5 p-beauty contests (p=1/2). Participants were paid $.01 for the mere participation, plus a prize of $.50 if they were the winners of the contest. In case of multiple winners, the prize was split evenly.
The figure below compares our results with those published in Nagel (1995). We obtained higher mean and median, and higher variability. Frequency peaks are similar between the two datasets. Overall, workers’ behavior is consistent with previous experiments (e.g. Burnham et al. 2009); it would be arguably helpful to replicate the experiment with different configurations in terms of payment/prize.
Our data (left) and Nagel’s data (1995; right).
Burnham T., Cesarini D., Lichtenstein P., Johannesson M., Wallace B. (2009). Higher Cognitive Ability is Associated with Lower Entries in a p-Beauty Contest. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 72 (1), 171-175.
Nagel, R. (1995). Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study. American Economic Review, 85 (5), 1313-1326.