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The Important Thing Is Not (Always) Winning but Taking Part: Funding Public Goods with Contests

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  • MARCO FARAVELLI

Abstract

This paper considers a public good game with incomplete information a?ected by extreme free-riding. We overcome this problem through the implementation of a contest in which several prizes can be awarded. For any possible distribution of wealth we identify the necessary and su?cient conditions for the equilibrium allocations to be interior for all players. At interior solutions, it is optimal for the social planner to set the last prize equal to zero, but otherwise the total expected welfare is independent of the distribution of the total prize sum among the prizes. We prove that private provision via a contest Pareto-dominates both public provision and private provision via a lottery.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:13:y:2011:i:1:p:1-22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Groves, Theodore & Ledyard, John O, 1977. "Optimal Allocation of Public Goods: A Solution to the "Free Rider" Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 783-809, May.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 841-864, October.
    4. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1989. "Politically Contestable Rents And Transfers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 17-39, March.
    5. John Morgan, 2000. "Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 761-784.
    6. 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.
    7. Baye, Michael R & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G, 1993. "Rigging the Lobbying Process: An Application of the All-Pay Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 289-294, March.
    8. Dan Kovenock & Michael R. Baye & Casper G. de Vries, 1996. "The all-pay auction with complete information (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(2), pages 291-305.
    9. Ellingsen, Tore, 1991. "Strategic Buyers and the Social Cost of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 648-657, June.
    10. John Morgan & Martin Sefton, 2000. "Funding Public Goods with Lotteries: Experimental Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 785-810.
    11. Arye Hillman & Dov Samet, 1987. "Dissipation of contestable rents by small numbers of contenders," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 63-82, January.
    12. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    13. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "Digging for Golden Carrots: An Analysis of Research Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 872-890, September.
    17. Broecker, Thorsten, 1990. "Credit-Worthiness Tests and Interbank Competition," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 429-452, March.
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    Cited by:

    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. Sander Onderstal & Arthur J.C. Schram & Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2011. "Bidding to give in the Field: Door-to-Door Fundraisers had it right from the Start," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-070/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 10 Nov 2011.
    3. Gregor, Martin, 2012. "Contest for power in organizations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(3), pages 280-283.
    4. Onderstal, Sander & Schram, Arthur J.H.C. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2014. "Reprint of: Bidding to give in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 87-100.
    5. Jörg Franke & Wolfgang Leininger, 2013. "On the Efficient Provision of Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Ruhr Economic Papers 0399, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Luca Corazzini & Marco Faravelli & Luca Stanca, 2010. "A Prize To Give For: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 944-967, September.
    7. Jörg Franke & Wolfgang Leininger, 2013. "On the Efficient Provision of Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," CESifo Working Paper Series 4109, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Faravelli, Marco & Stanca, Luca, 2012. "Single versus multiple-prize all-pay auctions to finance public goods: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 677-688.
    9. repec:zbw:rwirep:0399 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Marco Faravelli & Luca Stanca, 2007. "Single versus Multiple Prize Contests to Finance Public Goods: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 200715, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
    11. 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.
    12. Onderstal, Sander & Schram, Arthur J.H.C. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2013. "Bidding to give in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 72-85.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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