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Competition among contests

Author

Listed:
  • Ghazala Azmat
  • Marc Möller

Abstract

When several contests compete for the participation of a common set of players, a contest's allocation of prizes not only induces incentive effects but also participation effects. Our model predicts that an increase in the sensitivity with which contest outcomes depend on players' efforts makes flatter prize structures more attractive to participants. In equilibrium, contests that aim to maximize the number of participants will award multiple prizes if and only if this sensitivity is sufficiently high. Moreover, the prize awarded to the winner is decreasing in the contests' sensitivity. We provide empirical evidence from professional road running using race-distance as a measure of sensitivity. We show that steeper prize structures are more attractive to top-ranked runners in longer, that is, less sensitive, races. In line with our theory, longer races do in fact offer steeper prize structures. Copyright (c) 2009, RAND.

Suggested Citation

  • Ghazala Azmat & Marc Möller, 2009. "Competition among contests," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 743-768.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:40:y:2009:i:4:p:743-768
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peters, Michael & Severinov, Sergei, 1997. "Competition among Sellers Who Offer Auctions Instead of Prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 141-179, July.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Green, Jerry R & Stokey, Nancy L, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 349-364, June.
    5. Nti, Kofi O, 1997. "Comparative Statics of Contests and Rent-Seeking Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(1), pages 43-59, February.
    6. James G. Lynch & Jeffrey S. Zax, 2000. "The Rewards to Running," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(4), pages 323-340, November.
    7. Clark, Derek J. & Riis, Christian, 1998. "Influence and the discretionary allocation of several prizes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 605-625, November.
    8. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner & Shi, Xianwen, 2008. "Competing auctions with endogenous quantities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 141(1), pages 1-27, July.
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    10. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
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    12. Chen Cohen & Todd R. Kaplan & Aner Sela, 2008. "Optimal rewards in contests," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 434-451.
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    14. Szymanski, Stefan & Valletti, Tommaso M., 2005. "Incentive effects of second prizes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 467-481, June.
    15. McAfee, R Preston, 1993. "Mechanism Design by Competing Sellers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(6), pages 1281-1312, November.
    16. Burguet, Roberto & Sakovics, Jozsef, 1999. "Imperfect Competition in Auction Designs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 231-247, February.
    17. Dilip Mookherjee, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 433-446.
    18. Barry J. Nalebuff & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Prices and Incentives: Towards a General Theory of Compensation and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 21-43, Spring.
    19. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2010. "Splitting Tournaments," IZA Discussion Papers 5186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:eee:mateco:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:21-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bernergård, Axel & Wärneryd, Karl, 2017. "Self-Allocation in Contests," SSE Working Paper Series in Economics 2017:2, Stockholm School of Economics.
    4. Linnemer, Laurent & Visser, Michael, 2016. "Self-selection in tournaments: The case of chess players," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 213-234.
    5. Dahm, Matthias & Esteve, Patrícia,, 2013. "Affirmative Action through Extra Prizes," Working Papers 2072/222197, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    6. Ghazala Azmat & Marc Möller, 2012. "The distribution of talent across contests," Economics Working Papers 1298, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2013.
    7. John Morgan & Dana Sisak & Felix Vardy, 2012. "On the Merits of Meritocracy," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-077/1, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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