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Who Gains from Information Asymmetry?


  • Gil S. Epstein

    () (Bar-Ilan University)

  • Yosef Mealem


This article considers an asymmetric contest with incomplete information. There are two types of players: informed and uninformed. Each player has a different ability to translate effort into performance in terms of the contest success function. While one player's type is known to both players, the other is private information and known only to the player himself. We compare the Bayesian Nash equilibrium outcome of a one-sided private information contest to the Nash equilibrium with no private information, in which both players know the type of the other player. We show conditions under which uncertainty increases the investment of the uninformed player and the rent dissipation of the contest, while decreasing the expected net payoff of the informed player. In addition, we consider conditions under which the informed player – before knowing his own type – prefers that the uninformed player knows his type. Moreover, we show conditions for the existence/non-existence of equilibrium in a two-stage contest in which the informed player declares his type (or does not declare) in the first stage and in the second stage the two players play according to the information available to them.

Suggested Citation

  • Gil S. Epstein & Yosef Mealem, 2013. "Who Gains from Information Asymmetry?," Working Papers 2013-01, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2013-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Warneryd, Karl, 2003. "Information in conflicts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 121-136, May.
    2. Raith, Michael, 1996. "A General Model of Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 260-288, October.
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    4. Nti, Kofi O, 1999. "Rent-Seeking with Asymmetric Valuations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 415-430, March.
    5. Kyung Hwan Baik, 1994. "Winner-Help-Loser Group Formation In Rent-Seeking Contests," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 147-162, July.
    6. Gil Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2006. "The Politics of Randomness," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 27(2), pages 423-433, October.
    7. David A. Malueg & Andrew J. Yates, 2004. "Sent Seeking With Private Values," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 161-178, April.
    8. Hurley, Terrance M. & Shogren, Jason F., 1998. "Effort levels in a Cournot Nash contest with asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 195-210, June.
    9. Gil S. Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2006. "Effort and Performance in Public Policy Contests," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(2), pages 265-282, May.
    10. Epstein, Gil S & Nitzan, Shmuel, 2002. "Asymmetry and Corrective Public Policy in Contests," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 231-240, October.
    11. Farmer, Amy & Pecorino, Paul, 1999. "Legal Expenditure as a Rent-Seeking Game," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(3-4), pages 271-288, September.
    12. Baik, Kyung Hwan, 1999. "Rent-Seeking Firms, Consumer Groups, and the Social Costs of Monopoly," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 541-553, July.
    13. Richard Allard, 1988. "Rent-seeking with non-identical players," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 3-14, April.
    14. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
    15. Froeb, Luke M & Kobayashi, Bruce H, 1996. "Naive, Biased, Yet Bayesian: Can Juries Interpret Selectively Produced Evidence?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 257-276, April.
    16. Hurley, Terrance M. & Shogren, Jason F., 1998. "Asymmetric information contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 645-665, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Ewerhart & Julia Grünseis, 2018. "Voluntary disclosure in unfair contests," ECON - Working Papers 279, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.

    More about this item


    Asymmetric contests; rent seeking; incomplete information;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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