An experimental investigation of asymmetric contests
Contest theory has been used in Industrial Organization to describe phenomena like R&D races, or efforts to defend a monopoly position. When pricing behavior is constrained by regulators, competition can also take the form of a contest. This paper reports on an experimental test of the effects of asymmetry in the Tullock contest success function. Both the simultaneous-move and sequential-move frameworks are considered. Despite high levels of overbidding across the different conditions, the introduction of asymmetries in the contest function generates experimental behavior on aggregate qualitatively consistent with the theoretical predictions. At the individual level, behavior seems divided into those subjects who bid very high amounts and those who bid very low amounts.
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