© 2015 Taylor & Francis. The structure of professional sports allows us to document predictions from the theory of rank-order tournaments (Lazear and Rosen 1981). In the context of South American FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, under the presence of heterogeneous agents, handicapping the best quality players may increase the tournaments’ efficiency by making the contest more competitive. In particular, we show that playing in high-altitude stadiums (above 2500 m) constitutes a handicap as the otherwise least competitive teams benefit from the existence of an altitude advantage.
- Contest theory
- optimal handicap