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Unfair Contests

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  • Feess,Eberhard
  • Muehlheusser,Gerd
  • Walzl,Markus

    (METEOR)

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    Abstract

    Real-world contests are often "unfair" in the sense that outperforming all rivals may not be enough to be the winner, because some contestants are favored by the allocation rule, while others are handicapped. Examples of such contests can be inter alia found in the area of litigation and procurement.This paper analyzes discriminatory contests (which are strategically equivalent to all-pay auctions) with a handicap for one of the participants. We first characterize the equilibriumstrategies, provide closed form solutions, and illustrate the additional strategic issues arising through this asymmetry. We then analyze the issue of the optimal degree of unfairness. From a social point of view, the following trade-off arises: The disadvantage of unfair contests is that the prize may be awarded to an inferior contestant. On the other hand, under the assumption that the effort exerted by contestants to increase their chancesof winning the prize is wasteful from a social point of view, one advantage of an unfair contest is that it leads to lower effort incentives. We characterize situations in which it is optimal for an authority to either stipulate a fair contest, an interior degree of unfairness or even an infinitely unfair contest where the prize is directly awarded to one of the ontestants.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 050.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2004050

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    Keywords: microeconomics ;

    References

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    1. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1992. "Rigging the Lobbying Process: An Application of the All- Pay Auction," Papers 9-92-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    2. Amann, Erwin & Leininger, Wolfgang, 1996. "Asymmetric All-Pay Auctions with Incomplete Information: The Two-Player Case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-18, May.
    3. Kai A. Konrad, 2002. "Investment in the Absence of Property Rights: The Role of Incumbency Advantages," CESifo Working Paper Series 698, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. 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.
    5. Antonio Bernardo & Eric L. Talley & Ivo Welch, 1999. "A Theory of Legal Presumptions," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm118, Yale School of Management.
    6. Arieh Gavious & Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2002. "Bid Costs and Endogenous Bid Caps," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 709-722, Winter.
    7. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
    8. Richard L. Fullerton & R. Preston McAfee, 1999. "Auctioning Entry into Tournaments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 573-605, June.
    9. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 1994. "An Analysis of the War of Attrition and the All-Pay Auction," Game Theory and Information 9409002, EconWPA.
    10. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Discussion Papers 447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    11. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "Digging for Golden Carrots: An Analysis of Research Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 872-90, September.
    12. Clark, Derek J. & Riis, Christian, 2000. "Allocation efficiency in a competitive bribery game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 109-124, May.
    13. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-89, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Pastine, Ivan & Pastine, Tuvana, 2006. "Politician Preferences and Caps on Political Lobbying," CEPR Discussion Papers 5913, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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