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Majoritarian Blotto contests with asymmetric battlefields: an experiment on apex games

Author

Listed:
  • Maria Montero

    () (University of Nottingham
    University of the Basque County (FAE I)
    IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science)

  • Alex Possajennikov

    () (University of Nottingham)

  • Martin Sefton

    () (University of Nottingham)

  • Theodore L. Turocy

    () (University of East Anglia)

Abstract

Abstract We investigate a version of the classic Colonel Blotto game in which individual battlefields may have different values. Two players allocate a fixed discrete budget across battlefields. Each battlefield is won by the player who allocates the most to that battlefield. The player who wins the battlefields with highest total value receives a constant winner payoff, while the other player receives a constant loser payoff. We focus on apex games, in which there is one large and several small battlefields. A player wins if he wins the large and any one small battlefield, or all the small battlefields. For each of the games we study, we compute an equilibrium and we show that certain properties of equilibrium play are the same in any equilibrium. In particular, the expected share of the budget allocated to the large battlefield exceeds its value relative to the total value of all battlefields, and with a high probability (exceeding 90 % in our treatments) resources are spread over more battlefields than are needed to win the game. In a laboratory experiment, we find that strategies that spread resources widely are played frequently, consistent with equilibrium predictions. In the treatment where the asymmetry between battlefields is strongest, we also find that the large battlefield receives on average more than a proportional share of resources. In a control treatment, all battlefields have the same value and our findings are consistent with previous experimental findings on Colonel Blotto games.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Montero & Alex Possajennikov & Martin Sefton & Theodore L. Turocy, 2016. "Majoritarian Blotto contests with asymmetric battlefields: an experiment on apex games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 61(1), pages 55-89, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:61:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s00199-015-0902-y DOI: 10.1007/s00199-015-0902-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Erik O. Kimbrough & Kevin Laughren & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2017. "War and Conflict in Economics: Theories, Applications, and Recent Trends," Working Papers 17-13, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Dan Kovenock & David Rojo Arjona & Nathaniel T. Wilcox, 2016. "Focality and asymmetry in multi-battle contests," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 16-12, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:139:y:2017:i:c:p:88-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Shakun D. Mago & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2012. "Multi-Battle Contests: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 12-06, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Colonel Blotto; Contest theory; Majoritarian objective; Resource allocation; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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