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Single versus Multiple Prize Contests to Finance Public Goods: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Marco Faravelli
  • Luca Stanca

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Abstract

This paper investigates single and multiple prize contests as incentive mechanisms for the private provision of public goods, under the assumptions of income heterogeneity and incomplete information about income levels. We compare experimentally a one-prize contest with a three-prize contest in a case where theory predicts that several prizes maximise revenues. We ¯nd that, contrary to the theoretical predictions, total contributions are signi¯cantly higher in the one-prize contest. In both treatments contribu- tions converge towards theoretical predictions over successive rounds, but the e®ects of repetition are di®erent: convergence is fast in the one-prize treatment, while gradual and with some undershooting in the three-prize treatment. Focusing on individual income types, the better performance of the single-prize contest is largely explained by the contributions of high- income individuals: a single larger prize provides a more e®ective incentive for richer individuals than three smaller prize

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper127.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 127.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision: Nov 2007
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:127

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Keywords: Auctions; Public Goods; Laboratory Experiments.;

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References

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  1. Henrik Orzen, 2005. "Fundraising through Competition: Evidence from the Lab," Discussion Papers 2005-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  2. Jacob K. Goeree & Emiel Maasland & Sander Onderstal & John L. Turner, 2005. "How (Not) to Raise Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 897-926, August.
  3. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782, May.
  4. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Szymanski, Stefan & Valletti, Tommaso M., 2005. "Incentive effects of second prizes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 467-481, June.
  6. David Schmidt & Robert S. Shupp & James Walker, 2005. "Resource Allocation Contests: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 200506, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2005.
  7. Marco Faravelli, 2011. "The Important Thing Is Not (Always) Winning but Taking Part: Funding Public Goods with Contests," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, 02.
  8. Morgan, John & Sefton, Martin, 2000. "Funding Public Goods with Lotteries: Experimental Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 785-810, October.
  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  10. Barut, Yasar & Kovenock, Dan, 1998. "The symmetric multiple prize all-pay auction with complete information," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 627-644, November.
  11. Glazer, Amihai & Hassin, Refael, 1988. "Optimal Contests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 133-43, January.
  12. Arthur J.H.C. Schram & Sander Onderstal, 2009. "Bidding To Give: An Experimental Comparison Of Auctions For Charity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 431-457, 05.
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Cited by:
  1. Fujiwara, Hikojiro & Arai, Kazuhiro, 2008. "Group Competition and Personality in an Experimental Public Goods Game," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 49(2), pages 149-161, December.

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