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

  • MARCO FARAVELLI

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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Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 13 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 1-22

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:13:y:2011:i:1:p:1-22
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  1. 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.
  2. Ellingsen, Tore, 1991. "Strategic Buyers and the Social Cost of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 648-57, June.
  3. Lucca Corazzini & Marco Faravelli & Lucca Stanca, 2007. "A Prize to Give for: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms," ESE Discussion Papers 159, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  4. 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.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1989. "Politically Contestable Rents And Transfers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 17-39, 03.
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  12. Arthur J.H.C. Schram & Sander Onderstal, 2009. "Bidding To Give: An Experimental Comparison Of Auctions For Charity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 431-457, 05.
  13. Arye Hillman & Dov Samet, 1987. "Dissipation of contestable rents by small numbers of contenders," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 63-82, January.
  14. Morgan, John, 2000. "Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 761-84, October.
  15. Morgan, John & Sefton, Martin, 2000. "Funding Public Goods with Lotteries: Experimental Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 785-810, October.
  16. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2001. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 542-558, June.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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