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The optimal design of rewards in contests

  • Kaplan, Todd R
  • Wettstein, David

Using contests to generate innovation has and is widely used. Such contests often involve offering a prize that depends upon the accomplishment (effort). Using an all-pay auction as a model of a contest, we determine the optimal reward for inducing innovation. In a symmetric environment, we find that the reward should be set to c(x)/c′(x) where c is the cost of producing an innovation of level x. In an asymmetric environment with two firms, we find that it is optimal to set different rewards for each firm. There are cases where this can be replicated by a single reward that depends upon accomplishments of both contestants.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/27397/1/MPRA_paper_27397.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27397.

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Date of creation: 05 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27397
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  1. Cohen, Chen & Kaplan, Todd & Sela, Aner, 2004. "Optimal Rewards in Contests," CEPR Discussion Papers 4704, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jörg Franke & Christian Kanzow & Wolfgang Leininger & Alexandra Väth, 2009. "Effort Maximization in Asymmetric N-person Contest Games," Ruhr Economic Papers 0130, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  3. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2000. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1784, Econometric Society.
  4. Todd Kaplan, 2001. "All-Pay Auctions with Variable Rewards," Discussion Papers 0109, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  5. Kaplan, T.R. & Luski, I. & Wettstein, D., 2000. "Innovative Activity and Sunk Cost," Papers 2000-6, Tel Aviv.
  6. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
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