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Multi-Item Contests

  • Alex Robson


Contests are games in which the players compete for a valuable prize by exerting effort or using resources so as to increase their probability of winning. This paper examines two player multi-item contests, a class of games in which players are faced with a decision about how much of a given resource to devote to an entire collection or sequence of different contests. Applications include multi-item rent-seeking behavior, multi-good marketing and advertising, multi-jurisdictional political contests. In these games, even when the (uncertain) outcomes in each contest are assumed to be mutually statistically independent, equilibrium efforts can exhibit strong interdependencies. Changes in either the contest success function or value of the prize in one contest usually alter the equilibrium amount of resources devoted to all contests by both players. We unify and extend results from marketing and political science, and also derive conditions under which both players exert zero effort in equilibrium in some subset of contests.

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Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2005-446.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2005-446
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  1. George E. Monahan, 1987. "The Structure of Equilibria in Market Share Attraction Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 33(2), pages 228-243, February.
  2. Nti, Kofi O, 1997. "Comparative Statics of Contests and Rent-Seeking Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(1), pages 43-59, February.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-98, December.
  4. Skaperdas, S. & Syropoulos, C., 1998. "Complementarity in Contests," Papers 97-98-21, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  5. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
  6. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1996. "Contest Success Functions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-90, February.
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