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Single versus Multiple Prize Contests to Finance Public Goods: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Marco Faravelli
  • Luca Stanca

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Abstract

This paper investigates single and multiple prize contests as incentive mechanisms for the private provision of public goods, under the assumptions of income heterogeneity and incomplete information about income levels. We compare experimentally a one-prize contest with a three-prize contest in a case where theory predicts that several prizes maximise revenues. We ¯nd that, contrary to the theoretical predictions, total contributions are signi¯cantly higher in the one-prize contest. In both treatments contribu- tions converge towards theoretical predictions over successive rounds, but the e®ects of repetition are di®erent: convergence is fast in the one-prize treatment, while gradual and with some undershooting in the three-prize treatment. Focusing on individual income types, the better performance of the single-prize contest is largely explained by the contributions of high- income individuals: a single larger prize provides a more e®ective incentive for richer individuals than three smaller prize

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Faravelli & Luca Stanca, 2007. "Single versus Multiple Prize Contests to Finance Public Goods: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 127, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:127
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Shupp, Robert & Sheremeta, Roman M. & Schmidt, David & Walker, James, 2013. "Resource allocation contests: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 257-267.
    4. Barut, Yasar & Kovenock, Dan, 1998. "The symmetric multiple prize all-pay auction with complete information," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 627-644, November.
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    7. Marco Faravelli, 2011. "The Important Thing Is Not (Always) Winning but Taking Part: Funding Public Goods with Contests," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, February.
    8. Szymanski, Stefan & Valletti, Tommaso M., 2005. "Incentive effects of second prizes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 467-481, June.
    9. Glazer, Amihai & Hassin, Refael, 1988. "Optimal Contests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 133-143, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Julian Conrads & Tommaso Reggiani & Rainer Michael Rilke, 2016. "Reducing ambiguity in lotteries: evidence from a field experiment," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(3), pages 206-211, February.
    2. Fujiwara, Hikojiro & Arai, Kazuhiro, 2008. "Group Competition and Personality in an Experimental Public Goods Game," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 49(2), pages 149-161, December.
    3. Astrid, Gamba & Luca, Stanca, 2016. "Mis-Judging Merit: The Effects of Adjudication Errors in Contests," Working Papers 345, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 14 Jul 2016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Auctions; Public Goods; Laboratory Experiments.;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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