Creativity Under Fire: The Effects of Competition on Creative Production

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<jats:p> Though fundamental to innovation and essential to many industries and occupations, individual creativity has received limited attention as an economic behavior and has historically proven difficult to study. This paper studies the incentive effects of competition on individuals' creative production. Using a sample of commercial logo design competitions and a novel, content-based measure of originality, I find that intensifying competition induces agents to produce original, untested ideas over tweaking their earlier work, but heavy competition drives them to stop investing altogether. The results yield lessons for the management of creative workers and the implementation of competitive procurement mechanisms for innovation. </jats:p>






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Gross, Daniel P (2020). Creativity Under Fire: The Effects of Competition on Creative Production. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 102(3). pp. 583–599. 10.1162/rest_a_00831 Retrieved from

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Daniel Gross

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Daniel P. Gross is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He researches the causes and consequences of technological change. Recurring themes in his work include crisis innovation and its impacts on the innovation system; automation and its effects on firms, workers, and labor markets; and incentives and other tools for managing creative workers within organizations. His work frequently uses historical examples of industries undergoing significant technological change as contexts to investigate recurrent or modern economic questions.

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