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Allocation of Prizes in Contests with Participation Constraints

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  • Megidish, Reut
  • Sela, Aner

Abstract

We study all-pay contests with an exogenous minimal effort constraint where a player can participate in a contest only if his effort (output) is equal to or higher than the minimal effort constraint. Contestants are privately informed about a parameter (ability) that affects their cost of effort. The designer decides about the size and the number of prizes. We analyze the optimal prize allocation for the contest designer who wishes to maximize either the total effort or the highest effort. It is shown that if the minimal effort constraint is relatively high, the winner-take-all contest in which the contestant with the highest effort wins the entire prize sum does not necessarily maximize the expected total effort nor the expected highest effort. In that case, the random contest in which the entire prize sum is equally allocated to all the participants is a legitimate alternative to the winner-take-all contest.

Suggested Citation

  • Megidish, Reut & Sela, Aner, 2009. "Allocation of Prizes in Contests with Participation Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 7580, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7580
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Schweinzer & Ella Segev, 2012. "The optimal prize structure of symmetric Tullock contests," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 69-82, October.
    2. Dan Kovenock & Michael R. Baye & Casper G. de Vries, 1996. "The all-pay auction with complete information (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(2), pages 291-305.
    3. Kaplan, Todd R. & Luski, Israel & Wettstein, David, 2003. "Innovative activity and sunk cost," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(8), pages 1111-1133, October.
    4. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "Digging for Golden Carrots: An Analysis of Research Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 872-890, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    all-pay contests; Participation constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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