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Political Culture and Discrimination in Contests

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  • Gil S. Epstein
  • Yosef Mealem
  • Shmuel Nitzan

Abstract

Many economic and political decisions are the outcome of strategic contests for a given prize. The nature of such contests can be determined by a designer who is driven by political considerations with a specific political culture. The main objective of this study is to analyze the effect of political culture and of valuation asymmetry on discrimination between the contestants. The weights assigned to the public well being and the contestants' efforts represent the political culture while discrimination is an endogenous variable that characterizes the mechanism allocating the prize. We consider situations under which the optimal bias of the designer is in favor of the contestant with the larger or smaller prize valuation and examine the effect of changes in the political culture and in valuation asymmetry on the designer's preferred discrimination between the contestants. Focusing on the two most widely studied types of contest success functions (deterministic all-pay-auctions and logit CSFs), we show that an all-pay auction is always the preferred CSF from the point of view of the contest designer. This result provides a new political-economic micro foundation to some of the most commonly used models in the contest literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3170.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3170

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Related research

Keywords: rent seeking; political culture; discrimination; contests; logit contest success function; All-Pay-Auction;

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References

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  1. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 1999. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-75, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  2. John Morgan & Henrik Orzen & Martin Sefton, 2008. "Endogenous Entry in Contests," Discussion Papers 2008-08, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  3. Nitzan, Shmuel & Ueda, Kaoru, 2009. "Collective contests for commons and club goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 48-55, February.
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  19. Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2007. "Endogenous Coalition Formation in Contests," ESE Discussion Papers 158, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
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