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The optimal design of rewards in contests

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  • Kaplan, Todd R
  • Wettstein, David

Abstract

Using contests to generate innovation has and is widely used. Such contests often involve offering a prize that depends upon the accomplishment (effort). Using an all-pay auction as a model of a contest, we determine the optimal reward for inducing innovation. In a symmetric environment, we find that the reward should be set to c(x)/c′(x) where c is the cost of producing an innovation of level x. In an asymmetric environment with two firms, we find that it is optimal to set different rewards for each firm. There are cases where this can be replicated by a single reward that depends upon accomplishments of both contestants.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27397.

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Date of creation: 05 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27397

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Keywords: contests; innovation; mechanism design.;

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References

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  1. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
  2. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2003. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 646-671, June.
  3. Chen Cohen & Todd R. Kaplan & Aner Sela, 2008. "Optimal rewards in contests," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 434-451.
  4. Jörg Franke & Christian Kanzow & Wolfgang Leininger & Alexandra Väth, 2009. "Effort Maximization in Asymmetric N-person Contest Games," Ruhr Economic Papers 0130, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  5. Kaplan, Todd R. & Luski, Israel & Wettstein, David, 2003. "Innovative activity and sunk cost," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(8), pages 1111-1133, October.
  6. Kaplan, Todd, et al, 2002. "All-Pay Auctions with Variable Rewards," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 417-30, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Todd R. Kaplan & Shmuel Zamir, 2014. "Advances in Auctions," Discussion Paper Series dp662, The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  2. Fu, Qiang & Lu, Jingfeng & Lu, Yuanzhu, 2012. "Incentivizing R&D: Prize or subsidies?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 67-79.

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