Economics meets psychology: Experimental and self-reported measures of individual competitiveness

Werner Bönte, Sandro Lombardo*, Diemo Urbig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examines the relationship between economic and psychological approaches to measure individuals' competitiveness. While psychologists typically use self-reported psychometric scales, economists tend to use behavioral measures obtained from economic experiments, where subjects confronted with specific paid tasks have to select into either a competitive or a piece-rate payment scheme. Both measurement approaches have remained largely isolated from one another. We demonstrate that a standard behavioral measure and a psychometric scale of individual competitiveness are positively associated, but distinguishable with respect to the role of personal development motives. While self-reported competitiveness also emerges from personal development motives, the behavioral measure does not reflect such motives. The distinction between both measures is validated based on divergent associations with personality and interests in a competitive career.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Competition
  • Experiment
  • Personal development
  • Psychometric scale
  • Tournament


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