Foreclosure in contests
We consider a contest in which one firm is a favourite as it initially has a cost advantage over rivals. Instead of taking the set of rivals as given, we consider the possibility that the favourite transfers the source of its advantage wholly or partially to a subset of rival firms. The result of this may be foreclosure of those firms that do not receive the cost reduction. We present conditions under which this transfer will be expected to occur, and show that the dominant firm will prefer to grant some rivals the maximum cost reduction even if a partial transfer can be made. Furthermore we consider the welfare properties of excluding some rivals. Applications include lobbying, patent races and access to essential infrastructure.
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