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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
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  1. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C., 1992. "The All-Pay Auction with Complete Information," Papers 8-92-1, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  2. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1991. "Rigging The Lobbying Process: An Application Of The All- Pay Auction," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1002, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  3. 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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  5. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2002. "Asymmetric Contests with General Technologies," Keele Economics Research Papers KERP 2002/22, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
  6. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2006. "Side Effects of Campaign Finance Reform," Working Papers 06.15, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  7. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2000. "Informational Lobbying and Political Contributions," CIE Discussion Papers 2000-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  8. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1987. "Politically Contestable Rents and Transfers," UCLA Economics Working Papers 452, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1993. "The Solution to the Tullock Rent-Seeking Game when R > 2: Mixed Strategy Equilibria and Mean Dissipation Rates," Papers 10-93-9, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  10. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2006. "Informational Lobbying under the Shadow of Political Pressure," Working Papers 06.14, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  11. Baye, Michael R. & Hoppe, Heidrun C., 2003. "The strategic equivalence of rent-seeking, innovation, and patent-race games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 217-226, August.
  12. J. Amegashie, 2006. "A contest success function with a tractable noise parameter," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 135-144, January.
  13. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Luis Corchon & Matthias Dahm, 2007. "Foundations For Contest Success Functions," Economics Working Papers we070401, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  16. 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.
  17. Christian Riis & Derek J. Clark, 1997. "Contest success functions: an extension," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 201-204.
  18. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
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