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Overbidding and overspreading in rent-seeking experiments: Cost structure and prize allocation rules

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  • Chowdhury, Subhasish M.
  • Sheremeta, Roman M.
  • Turocy, Theodore L.

Abstract

We study experimentally the effects of cost structure and prize allocation rules on the performance of rent-seeking contests. Most previous studies use a lottery prize rule and linear cost, and find both overbidding relative to the Nash equilibrium prediction and significant variation of efforts, which we term ‘overspreading.’ We investigate the effects of allocating the prize by a lottery versus sharing it proportionally, and of convex versus linear costs of effort, while holding fixed the Nash equilibrium prediction for effort. We find the share rule results in average effort closer to the Nash prediction, and lower variation of effort. Combining the share rule with a convex cost function further enhances these results. We can explain a significant amount of non-equilibrium behavior by features of the experimental design. These results contribute towards design guidelines for contests based on behavioral principles that take into account implementation features of a contest.

Suggested Citation

  • Chowdhury, Subhasish M. & Sheremeta, Roman M. & Turocy, Theodore L., 2014. "Overbidding and overspreading in rent-seeking experiments: Cost structure and prize allocation rules," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 224-238.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:87:y:2014:i:c:p:224-238
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2014.05.004
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rent-seeking; Contest; Contest design; Experiments; Quantal response; Overbidding;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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