IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Promising the right prize


  • Henry, Emeric


Prizes are often awarded to encourage research on products deemed of vital importance. We present a mechanism which can, in situations where the innovators are better informed about the difficulty of the research, tailor perfectly the expected reward to the expected research costs. The idea is to let the first successful inventor trade off the risk of having a competitor share the reward in exchange for a higher prize. If the goal of the designer is to minimize the prize awarded whilst encouraging innovators to conduct research, such a mechanism achieves the first best.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry, Emeric, 2010. "Promising the right prize," CEPR Discussion Papers 7758, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7758

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nancy Gallini & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2002. "Intellectual Property: When Is It the Best Incentive System?," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 2, pages 51-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Mitchell, Matthew F, 2001. "Innovation Variety and Patent Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 152-166, Spring.
    3. Kremer, Michael R., 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," Scholarly Articles 3693705, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Gandal, Neil & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1993. "Coordinating research through research joint ventures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 173-193, June.
    5. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167.
    6. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2010. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127264, May.
    7. Ernst R. Berndt & Rachel Glennerster & Michael R. Kremer & Jean Lee & Ruth Levine & Georg Weizsäcker & Heidi Williams, 2007. "Advance market commitments for vaccines against neglected diseases: estimating costs and effectiveness," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(5), pages 491-511.
    8. Tom Lee & Louis L. Wilde, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-436.
    9. Emeric Henry, 2010. "Runner-up Patents: Is Monopoly Inevitable?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(2), pages 417-440, June.
    10. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
    11. Kultti, Klaus & Takalo, Tuomas, 2008. "Optimal fragmentation of intellectual property rights," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 137-149, January.
    12. Glenn C. Loury, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410.
    13. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-1257, November.
    14. Vincenzo Denicolo & Luigi A. Franzoni, 2010. "On the Winner-Take-All Principle in Innovation Races," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1133-1158, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Mitchell, Matthew & Zhang, Yuzhe, 2012. "Shared Rights and Technological Progress," MPRA Paper 36537, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    innovation race; market commitment mechanism; mechanism design; prizes; sorting;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7758. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.