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Lotteries vs. All-Pay Auctions in Fair and Biased Contests

  • Gil S. Epstein
  • Yosef Mealem
  • Shmuel Nitzan

The form of contests for a single fixed prize can be determined by a designer who maximizes the contestants' efforts. This paper establishes that, under common knowledge of the two asymmetric contestants' prize valuations, a fair Tullock-type endogenously determined lottery is always superior to an all-pay-auction; it yields larger expected efforts (revenues) for the contest designer. If the contest can be unfair (structural discrimination is allowed), then the designer's payoff under the optimal lottery is equal to his expected payoff under the optimal all-pay auction.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/10.1111/ecpo.12003
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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Economics & Politics.

Volume (Year): 25 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 48-60

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:25:y:2013:i:1:p:48-60
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  1. Gil S. Epstein & Ira N. Gang, 2006. "Good Governance and Good Aid Allocation," Departmental Working Papers 200627, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. Epstein, Gil S. & Mealem, Yosef & Nitzan, Shmuel, 2010. "Political Culture and Discrimination in Contests," IZA Discussion Papers 5158, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Glazer, Amihai & Hassin, Refael, 1988. "Optimal Contests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 133-43, January.
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  7. Alexander Matros & Daniel Armanios, 2007. "Tullock's Contest with Reimbursements," Working Papers 328, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2008.
  8. Jörg Franke & Christian Kanzow & Wolfgang Leininger & Alexandra Väth, 2009. "Effort Maximization in Asymmetric N-Person Contest Games," CESifo Working Paper Series 2744, CESifo Group Munich.
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  12. Alcalde, José & Dahm, Matthias, 2010. "Rent seeking and rent dissipation: A neutrality result," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 1-7, February.
  13. Amegashie, J Atsu, 2000. " Some Results on Rent-Seeking Contests with Shortlisting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 245-53, December.
  14. 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.
  15. Gil S. Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2002. "Effort and Performance in Public-Policy Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 634, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. 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.
  17. Gil S . Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2002. "Endogenous Public Policy, Politicization and Welfare," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(4), pages 661-677, October.
  18. Gradstein, Mark, 1998. "Optimal contest design: volume and timing of rent seeking in contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 575-585, November.
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  20. Hao Jia, 2008. "A stochastic derivation of the ratio form of contest success functions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 125-130, June.
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  22. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2006. "Contest architecture," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 70-96, January.
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  26. Jörg Franke, 2007. "Does Affirmative Action Reduce Effort Incentives? A Contest Game Analysis," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 711.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  27. 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.
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