Turf Wars
by Helios Herrera, Ernesto Reuben, Michael M. Ting
(October 2014)
forthcoming in: Journal of Public Economics

Turf wars commonly occur in environments where competition undermines collaboration. We develop a game theoretic model and experimental test of turf wars. The model explores how team production incentives ex post affect team formation decisions ex ante. In the game, one agent decides whether to share jurisdiction over a project with other agents. Agents with jurisdiction decide whether to exert effort and receive a reward based on their relative performance. Hence, sharing can increase joint production but introduces competition for the reward. We find that collaboration has a non-monotonic relationship with both productivity and rewards. The laboratory experiment confirms the model's main predictions. We also explore extensions of the basic model, including one where each agent's productivity is private information.
Text: See Discussion Paper No. 8585