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Competition for Access and Full Revelation of Evidence

  • Christopher Cotton

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

A decision maker must divide a prize between multiple agents. The prize may be divisible (e.g., a budget, pork-barrel spending) in which case he prefers to award larger shares of the prize to relatively more-qualified agents, or it may be non-divisible (e.g., jobs, college admissions) in which case he prefers to award the limited number of prizes to the most-qualified agents. He is, however, ex ante uncertain about agent quali cations. Agents may directly reveal verifiable evidence about their qualifications to the decision maker only if the decision maker grants them \access" (e.g., he takes time to review their applications, hold interviews, or conduct an investigation). The time-constrained decision maker must decide which agents receive access, as he cannot grant access to everyone. One way to award access is through a competition, where agents submit payments (e.g., time, money) and higher payments correspond to a greater likelihood of receiving access. The analysis shows that there always exists competition for access mechanisms in which the decision maker becomes fully informed about the qualifications of all agents (even though only some agents reveal their qualifications through access). That is, the decision maker can award access in such a way that he always becomes fully informed and chooses his preferred prize allocation. The paper derives such full-revelation mechanisms, and determines when awarding access through a traditional all-pay auction is sufficient for full revelation.

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File URL: http://moya.bus.miami.edu/~ccotton/papers/CompForAccess.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Paper provided by University of Miami, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2010-12.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published
Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:2010-12
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  1. Cotton, Christopher, 2009. "Should we tax or cap political contributions? A lobbying model with policy favors and access," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 831-842, August.
  2. Bull, Jesse & Watson, Joel, 2002. "Hard Evidence and Mechanism Design," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7715f08f, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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  9. Bull, Jesse & Watson, Joel, 2002. "Evidence Disclosure and Verfiability," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt19p7z2gm, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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  12. Feess Eberhard & Muehlheusser Gerd & Walzl Markus, 2004. "Unfair Contests," Research Memorandum 050, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
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  14. Elchanan Ben-Porath & Barton L. Lipman, 2009. "Implementation and Partial Provability," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2009-002, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  15. Péter Eső & Bal�zs Szentes, 2007. "Optimal Information Disclosure in Auctions and the Handicap Auction," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 705-731.
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  17. Tripathi Micky & Ansolabehere Stephen & Jr James M. Snyder, 2002. "Are PAC Contributions and Lobbying Linked? New Evidence from the 1995 Lobby Disclosure Act," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-26, August.
  18. Lipman Barton L. & Seppi Duane J., 1995. "Robust Inference in Communication Games with Partial Provability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 370-405, August.
  19. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian L, 1998. "Caps on Political Lobbying," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 643-51, June.
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  21. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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