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Overdissipation and Convergence in Rent-seeking Experiments: Cost structure and prize allocation rules

Listed author(s):
  • Subhasish M. Chowdhury

    ()

    (School of Economics, and Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science, University of East Anglia, Norwich)

  • Roman M. Sheremeta

    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University, USA)

  • Theodore L. Turocy

    (School of Economics, and Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science, University of East Anglia, Norwich)

We study experimentally the effects of cost structure and prize allocation rules on the performance of rent-seeking contests. Most previous studies use a lottery prize rule and linear cost, and find both overdissipation relative to Nash equilibrium prediction and significant variation in individual subject efforts. In a 2 2 design, we investigate the effects of sharing the prize proportionally and of a convex cost function, while holding fixed the Nash equilibrium prediction for effort. We find that the share rule results in average effort closer to the Nash prediction, lower variation in individual efforts, and convergence of the distribution of individual efforts towards Nash over time. Combining the share rule with a convex cost function further enhances these results. Our findings indicate that a significant amount of subjects’ non-equilibrium behavior in contests can be explained by features of the experimental design. These results contribute towards design guidelines for contests based on behavioral principles that take into account contest features that may not affect the Nash equilibrium prediction. These lessons suggest design guidelines for future experiments on contests.

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File URL: http://www.chapman.edu/research-and-institutions/economic-science-institute/_files/WorkingPapers/Sheremeta-Chowdhury-Turocy-OverdissipationandConvergence.pdf
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Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 12-13.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:12-13
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  1. Szidarovszky, Ferenc & Okuguchi, Koji, 1997. "On the Existence and Uniqueness of Pure Nash Equilibrium in Rent-Seeking Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 135-140, January.
  2. Benedikt Herrmann & Henrik Orzen, 2008. "The appearance of homo rivalis: Social preferences and the nature of rent seeking," Discussion Papers 2008-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  3. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Goeree, Jacob & Holt, Charles, 2000. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-value Auctions," Working Papers 1073, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Roman M. Sheremeta & Jingjing Zhang, 2009. "Can Groups Solve the Problem of Overbidding in Contests?," Department of Economics Working Papers 2009-05, McMaster University.
  5. Potters, Jan & de Vries, Casper G. & van Winden, Frans, 1998. "An experimental examination of rational rent-seeking," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 783-800, November.
  6. Kyung Hwan Baik & Todd Cherry & Stephan Kroll & Jason Shogren, 1999. "Endogenous Timing in a Gaming Tournament," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 1-21, August.
  7. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1985. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 85-21, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2009. "Expenditures and Information Disclosure in Two- Stage Political Contests," Working Papers 09-10, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  9. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  10. Sheremeta, Roman, 2009. "Contest Design: An Experimental Investigation," MPRA Paper 52101, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Wieland Müller & Andrew Schotter, 2010. "Workaholics and Dropouts in Organizations," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 717-743, 06.
  12. David Schmidt & Robert S. Shupp & James Walker, 2005. "Resource Allocation Contests: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 200506, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2005.
  13. Mago, Shakun & Samak, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2013. "Facing Your Opponents: Social Identification and Information Feedback in Contests," MPRA Paper 47029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Douglas Davis & Robert Reilly, 1998. "Do too many cooks always spoil the stew? An experimental analysis of rent-seeking and the role of a strategic buyer," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 89-115, April.
  15. Curtis R. Price & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2009. "Endowment Effects in Contests," Working Papers 09-07, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  16. Wilcox, Nathaniel, 2007. "Stochastically more risk averse: A contextual theory of stochastic discrete choice under risk," MPRA Paper 11851, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Millner, Edward L & Pratt, Michael D, 1991. "Risk Aversion and Rent-Seeking: An Extension and Some Experimental Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 69(1), pages 81-92, February.
  18. Edward Millner & Michael Pratt, 1989. "An experimental investigation of efficient rent-seeking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 139-151, August.
  19. Sheremeta, Roman, 2009. "Experimental Comparison of Multi-Stage and One-Stage Contests," MPRA Paper 49884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2012. "A Survey of Experimental Research on Contests, All-Pay Auctions and Tournaments," Working Papers 12-22, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  21. Bruce Linster & Richard Fullerton & Michael Mckee & Stephen Slate, 2001. "Rent-seeking models of international competition: An experimental investigation," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 285-302.
  22. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  23. Skaperdas, Stergios & Gan, Li, 1995. "Risk Aversion in Contests," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 951-962, July.
  24. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
  25. Roman Sheremeta & Jingjing Zhang, 2010. "Can groups solve the problem of over-bidding in contests?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(2), pages 175-197, July.
  26. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
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