Turf wars

Helios Herrera, Ernesto Reuben, Michael M. Ting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Turf wars in organizations 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-153
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • turf war
  • organizations
  • bureaucracy
  • jurisdiction
  • competition
  • information withholding

Cite this