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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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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.G., 1991. "Rigging The Lobbying Process: An Application Of The All- Pay Auction," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1002, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
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  16. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2002. "Asymmetric Contests with General Technologies," Keele Economics Research Papers KERP 2002/22, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
  17. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2008. "Informational lobbying under the shadow of political pressure," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 531-559, May.
  18. 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," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1039, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  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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