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Optimal Contest Design when the Designer’s Payoff Depends on Competitive Balance

  • Marco Runkel

This paper investigates optimal contest design when the designer’s payoff is increasing in competitive balance between contestants. A two-player contest with asymmetric effort costs (asymmetric abilities) is considered. Competitive balance is measured by the difference in winning probabilities of the contestants. In contrast to previous studies, the impact of competitive balance on the optimal prize is not unique, but depends on the shape of the contest success function. Furthermore, it is shown that including competitive balance in the designer’s objective may induce the designer to increase the contestants‘ effort costs, for example, by tightening the rules of the contest.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1009.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1009
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  1. Nirvikar Singh & Donald Wittman, 1988. "Economic Contests with Incomplete Information and Optimal Contest Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(4), pages 528-540, April.
  2. Nti, Kofi O, 1999. " Rent-Seeking with Asymmetric Valuations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 415-30, March.
  3. Gradstein, Mark & Konrad, Kai A, 1999. "Orchestrating Rent Seeking Contests," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 536-45, October.
  4. Gradstein, Mark, 1998. "Optimal contest design: volume and timing of rent seeking in contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 575-585, November.
  5. Kohli, Inderjit & Singh, Nirvikar, 1999. " Rent Seeking and Rent Setting with Asymmetric Effectiveness of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 275-98, June.
  6. Dasgupta, Ani & Nti, Kofi O., 1998. "Designing an optimal contest," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 587-603, November.
  7. Inderjit Kohli & Nirvikar Singh, 2001. "A Model of Inequality and Interest Group Politics," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 185-200, 07.
  8. Nirvikar Singh & Donald Wittman, 2001. "Contests where there is variation in the marginal productivity of effort," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 711-744.
  9. Glazer, Amihai & Hassin, Refael, 1988. "Optimal Contests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 133-43, January.
  10. Kofi O. Nti, 1999. "Stability in the patent race contest of Lee and Wilde," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 237-245.
  11. Stein, William E, 2002. " Asymmetric Rent-Seeking with More Than Two Contestants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 325-36, December.
  12. Amegashie, J Atsu, 1999. " The Design of Rent-Seeking Competitions: Committees, Preliminary and Final Contests," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 63-76, April.
  13. Amegashie, J Atsu, 2000. " Some Results on Rent-Seeking Contests with Shortlisting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 245-53, December.
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