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Gambling in Contests

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  • Seel, Christian
  • Strack, Philipp
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    Abstract

    This paper presents a strategic model of risk-taking behavior in contests. Formally, we analyze an n-player winner-take-all contest in which each player decides when to stop a privately observed Brownian Motion with drift. A player whose process reaches zero has to stop. The player with the highest stopping point wins. Contrary to the explicit cost for a higher stopping time in a war of attrition, here, higher stopping times are riskier, because players can go bankrupt. We derive a closed-form solution of the unique Nash equilibrium outcome of the game. In equilibrium, the trade-off between risk and reward causes a non-monotonicity: highest expected losses occur if the process decreases only slightly in expectation.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 375.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:375

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    Related research

    Keywords: Discontinuous games; Contests; Relative performance pay; Risktaking behavior;

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    1. Anderson, Axel & Cabral, Luís M B, 2004. "Go For Broke or Play it Safe? Dynamic Competition with Choice of Variance," CEPR Discussion Papers 4249, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Lones Smith & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2007. "Optimal Dynamic Contests," 2007 Meeting Papers 249, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Dan Kovenock & Michael R. Baye & Casper G. de Vries, 1996. "The all-pay auction with complete information (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 291-305.
    4. Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1987. "Racing with Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 1-21, January.
    5. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
    6. Hvide, H.K., 1999. "Tournament Rewards and Risk Taking," Papers 32-99, Tel Aviv.
    7. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
    8. Andreas Park & Lones Smith, 2008. "Caller Number Five and Related Timing Games," Working Papers tecipa-317, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    9. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "A Theory of Exit in Duopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 943-60, July.
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