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Biased contests

  • Matthias Dahm

    ()

  • Nicolás Porteiro

    ()

We examine the effects of providing more accurate information to a political decision-maker who is lobbied by competing interests. Conventional wisdom holds that such a bias in the direction of the correct decision improves the efficiency of government. We provide a formal definition of bias which is derived from the same fundamentals that give rise to a contest model of lobbying. Efficiency of government is measured by both the probability of taking the correct decision and the amount of social waste associated to lobbying activities. We present a benchmark model in which increasing the bias always improves the efficiency of government under both criteria. However, this result is fragile in the sense that reasonable alternative assumptions in the micro-foundations lead to slightly different models in which -due to different strategic effects of bias- under either criterion there is no guarantee that more accurate information improves government.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-008-9278-x
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 136 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 55-67

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:136:y:2008:i:1:p:55-67
DOI: 10.1007/s11127-008-9278-x
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Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/public+finance/journal/11127/PS2

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  1. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2008. "Informational lobbying under the shadow of political pressure," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 30(4), pages 531-559, May.
  2. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2008. "Side Effects of Campaign Finance Reform," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1057-1077, 09.
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  11. 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 289-94, March.
  12. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian, 2000. "Difference-Form Contests and the Robustness of All-Pay Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 22-43, January.
  13. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2005. "Asymmetric contests with general technologies," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 26(4), pages 923-946, November.
  14. 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.
  15. Bennedsen, Morten & Feldmann, Sven E., 2006. "Informational lobbying and political contributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 631-656, May.
  16. Christian Riis & Derek J. Clark, 1997. "Contest success functions: an extension," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 11(1), pages 201-204.
  17. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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