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Gambling in contests with random initial law

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  • Han Feng
  • David Hobson

Abstract

This paper studies a variant of the contest model introduced in Seel and Strack [J. Econom. Theory 148 (2013) 2033-2048]. In the Seel-Strack contest, each agent or contestant privately observes a Brownian motion, absorbed at zero, and chooses when to stop it. The winner of the contest is the agent who stops at the highest value. The model assumes that all the processes start from a common value $x_0>0$ and the symmetric Nash equilibrium is for each agent to utilise a stopping rule which yields a randomised value for the stopped process. In the two-player contest, this randomised value has a uniform distribution on $[0,2x_0]$. In this paper, we consider a variant of the problem whereby the starting values of the Brownian motions are independent, nonnegative random variables that have a common law $\mu$. We consider a two-player contest and prove the existence and uniqueness of a symmetric Nash equilibrium for the problem. The solution is that each agent should aim for the target law $\nu$, where $\nu$ is greater than or equal to $\mu$ in convex order; $\nu$ has an atom at zero of the same size as any atom of $\mu$ at zero, and otherwise is atom free; on $(0,\infty)$ $\nu$ has a decreasing density; and the density of $\nu$ only decreases at points where the convex order constraint is binding.

Suggested Citation

  • Han Feng & David Hobson, 2014. "Gambling in contests with random initial law," Papers 1405.7801, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1405.7801
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    1. Seel, Christian & Strack, Philipp, 2013. "Gambling in contests," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 2033-2048.
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