Songfa Zhong, Idan Shalev, David Koh, Richard P. Ebstein, Soo Hong Chew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the relationship between competitiveness and stress. In Experiment 1, we observe a higher response of cortisol—the primary stress hormone—to the computation task coupled with tournament than to the computation task with piece rate. Moreover, more competitive subjects exhibit higher stress responses than their less competitive counterparts in the computation tasks under both tournament and piece rate. In Experiment 2, we find that exogenously induced stress does not significantly affect competitiveness. Overall, our findings reveal an important trade-off between tournament and piece rate in terms of stress response with implications on the design of incentive contracts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1263-1281
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Economic Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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