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Road Warrior Booty: Prize Structures in Motorcycle Racing
Contributions in Economic Analysis & Policy (2002)
  • Michael T. Maloney, Clemson University
  • Kristina Terkun, Clemson University
This research reports the results of an analysis of prize structures among competing firms paying tournament wages. In motorcycle racing, sponsors compete in an auction for riders using tournament prizes as bids. Since racers can only ride one bike and wear one helmet, they are forced to choose among sponsors of similar products. We find that in the face of competition, sponsors are forced to lower the incentive intensity of their prize differentials as rival sponsors post larger purses. Our test offers new corroboration of the Lazear-Rosen tournament model. Other researchers have found that workers respond to bigger prize differentials by working harder. We find that firms recognize this and also recognize that in the competitive labor-market equilibrium this extra work must be compensated by offering higher expected wages through bigger purses. Our results complete the theoretical circle: workers respond to the incentive effects of tournament wages and firms anticipate this behavior when making tournament wage offers.
  • Tournaments
Publication Date
April, 2002
Citation Information
Michael T. Maloney and Kristina Terkun (2002) "Road Warrior Booty: Prize Structures in Motorcycle Racing," Contributions to Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 1 : Iss. 1, Article 3. Available at: