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Optimal rewards in contests

Author

Listed:
  • Chen Cohen
  • Todd R. Kaplan
  • Aner Sela

Abstract

We study all‐pay contests with effort‐dependent rewards under incomplete information. A contestant's value to winning depends not only on his type but also on the effort‐dependent reward chosen by the designer. We analyze which reward is optimal for the designer when his objective is either total effort or highest effort. We find that under certain conditions the optimal reward may either be negative or even decreasing in effort; however, we find no advantage to having multiple rewards.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen Cohen & Todd R. Kaplan & Aner Sela, 2008. "Optimal rewards in contests," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 434-451, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:39:y:2008:i:2:p:434-451
    DOI: 10.1111/j.0741-6261.2008.00021.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0741-6261.2008.00021.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kaplan, Todd R. & Luski, Israel & Wettstein, David, 2003. "Innovative activity and sunk cost," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(8), pages 1111-1133, October.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Kaplan, Todd, et al, 2002. "All-Pay Auctions with Variable Rewards," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 417-430, December.
    5. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian L, 1998. "Caps on Political Lobbying," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 643-651, June.
    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. 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.
    8. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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