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Ambiguous political power and contest efforts

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Author Info

  • Gil Epstein

    ()

  • Igal Milchtaich
  • Shmuel Nitzan
  • Mordechai Schwarz

Abstract

When there is incomplete information on the source of power in a contest, the contestants may divide their lobbying efforts between the potential centers of power, only one of which determines the contests’ winning probabilities. Our analysis focuses on the effect of ambiguity regarding the source of power on the contestants’ aggregate effort in a symmetric, simple lottery contest with two potential centers of power. Specifically, we examine the effects of varying the informativeness of the contestants’ private signals (i.e., the probability that a signal is correct) and the degree of correlation between them. Our benchmark case is the standard Tullock’s model, in which the source of power is known, i.e., the contestants’ signals are perfectly informative. We show that the level of aggregate effort in this case is reached also when the signals are perfectly uninformative. However, in any intermediate case the contestants’ aggregate effort is lower, provided that the signals are not perfectly correlated. In other words, there is a U-shape relationship between the informativeness of the signals and the aggregate effort in the contest. The lowest level of effort is spent when the signals are independent and the probability that a signal is true is about 0.85. In this case, efforts are reduced by about one-fifth in comparison with the benchmark case: from a rent dissipation of 50% to slightly over 40%. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 132 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 113-123

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:132:y:2007:i:1:p:113-123

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: Contests; Incomplete information; lobbying; transparency;

References

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  1. Kohli, Inderjit & Singh, Nirvikar, 1999. " Rent Seeking and Rent Setting with Asymmetric Effectiveness of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 275-98, June.
  2. Gil S. Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2000. "Strategic Restraint in Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 271, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Wärneryd, Karl, 2000. "Information in Conflicts," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 388, Stockholm School of Economics.
  4. Ellingsen, T., 1990. "Strategic Buyers and the Social Cost of Monopoly," Papers 05-90, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  5. Petra M. Geraats, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 532-565, November.
  6. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1996. " Rent-Seeking Contest When the Prize Increases with Aggregate Efforts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 87(1-2), pages 55-66, April.
  7. Terrance Hurley, 1998. "Rent dissipation and efficiency in a contest with asymmetric valuations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 289-298, March.
  8. Gil S. Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2003. "Political culture and monopoly price determination," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 1-19, 08.
  9. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian L, 1998. "Caps on Political Lobbying," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 643-51, June.
  10. Cairns, Robert D. & Van Long, Ngo, 1991. "Rent seeking with uncertain opposition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1223-1235, August.
  11. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1991. " Rent-Seeking with Non-identical Sharing Rules," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 71(1-2), pages 43-50, August.
  12. Konrad, Kai A & Schlesinger, Harris, 1997. "Risk Aversion in Rent-Seeking and Rent-Augmenting Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1671-83, November.
  13. Davis, Douglas D & Reilly, Robert J, 1999. " Rent-Seeking with Non-identical Sharing Rules: An Equilibrium Rescued," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(1-2), pages 31-38, July.
  14. Nirvikar Singh & Donald Wittman, 2001. "Contests where there is variation in the marginal productivity of effort," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 711-744.
  15. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
  16. Hurley, Terrance M. & Shogren, Jason F., 1998. "Effort levels in a Cournot Nash contest with asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 195-210, June.
  17. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1989. "Politically Contestable Rents And Transfers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 17-39, 03.
  18. Gil S. Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2002. "Effort and Performance in Public-Policy Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 634, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Kahana, Nava & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1999. "Uncertain preassigned non-contestable and contestable rents," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1705-1721, October.
  20. Nti, Kofi O, 1999. " Rent-Seeking with Asymmetric Valuations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 415-30, March.
  21. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian, 1997. " Rent Dissipation When Rent Seekers Are Budget Constrained," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 92(1-2), pages 109-26, July.
  22. Hurley, Terrance M. & Shogren, Jason F., 1998. "Asymmetric information contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 645-665, November.
  23. Nti, Kofi O, 1997. "Comparative Statics of Contests and Rent-Seeking Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(1), pages 43-59, February.
  24. Gil S . Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2002. "Endogenous Public Policy, Politicization and Welfare," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(4), pages 661-677, October.
  25. Stein, William E, 2002. " Asymmetric Rent-Seeking with More Than Two Contestants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 325-36, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gil Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan & Mordechai Schwarz, 2008. "Efforts in two-sided contests," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 283-291, September.
  2. Amegashie, J. Atsu, 2012. "A nested contest: Tullock meets the All-Pay Auction," MPRA Paper 41654, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Sep 2012.
  3. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2012. "A Nested Contest: Tullock Meets the All-pay Auction," CESifo Working Paper Series 3976, CESifo Group Munich.

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