IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Contest Design: An Experimental Investigation

  • Sheremeta, Roman

This paper experimentally compares the performance of four simultaneous lottery contests: a grand contest, two multiple prize settings (equal and unequal prizes), and a contest which consists of two subcontests. Consistent with the theory, the grand contest generates the highest effort levels among all simultaneous contests. In multi-prize settings, equal prizes produce lower efforts than unequal prizes. The results also support the argument that joint contests generate higher efforts than an equivalent number of subcontests. Contrary to the theory, there is significant over-dissipation. This over-dissipation can be partially explained by strong endowment size effects. Subjects who receive higher endowments tend to over-dissipate, while such over-dissipation disappears when the endowments are lower. This behavior is consistent with the predictions of a quantal response equilibrium. We also find that less risk-averse subjects over-dissipate more.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 52101.

in new window

Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52101
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Potters, J.J.M. & de Vries, C.G. & van Winden, F.A.A.M., 1998. "An experimental examination of rational rentseeking," Other publications TiSEM 496ad30e-8453-4c83-a5e1-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2001. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 542-558, June.
  3. Robert Shupp & Roman M. Sheremeta & David Schmidt & James Walker, 2013. "Resource Allocation Contests: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 13-23, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  4. Clark, Derek J. & Riis, Christian, 1998. "Influence and the discretionary allocation of several prizes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 605-625, November.
  5. Dechenaux, Emmanuel & Kovenock, Dan & Lugovskyy, Volodymyr, 2006. "Caps on bidding in all-pay auctions: Comments on the experiments of A. Rapoport and W. Amaldoss," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 276-283, October.
  6. Alannah Orrison & Andrew Schotter & Keith Weigelt, 2004. "Multiperson Tournaments: An Experimental Examination," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(2), pages 268-279, February.
  7. Simon P. Anderson & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 1998. "Rent Seeking with Bounded Rationality: An Analysis of the All-Pay Auction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 828-853, August.
  8. repec:oup:restud:v:67:y:2000:i:4:p:785-810 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. James G. Lynch & Jeffrey S. Zax, 2000. "The Rewards to Running," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(4), pages 323-340, November.
  10. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Goeree, Jacob & Holt, Charles, 2000. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-value Auctions," Working Papers 1073, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  11. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2002. "Contest Architecture," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  12. Millner, Edward L & Pratt, Michael D, 1991. " Risk Aversion and Rent-Seeking: An Extension and Some Experimental Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 69(1), pages 81-92, February.
  13. Matthias Kräkel, 2006. "Splitting Leagues," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 21-48, June.
  14. Roman Sheremeta, 2010. "Perfect-Substitutes, Best-Shot, and Weakest-Link Contests between Groups," Working Papers 10-25, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  15. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2002. "Asymmetric Contests with General Technologies," Keele Economics Research Papers KERP 2002/22, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
  16. Baik, Kyung Hwan & Lee, Sanghack, 2000. " Two-Stage Rent-Seeking Contests with Carryovers," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 285-96, June.
  17. Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2007. "Using Lotteries To Finance Public Goods: Theory And Experimental Evidence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(3), pages 901-927, 08.
  18. Fu, Qiang & Lu, Jingfeng, 2006. "The optimal multi-stage contest," MPRA Paper 946, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. Davis, Douglas D & Reilly, Robert J, 1998. " Do Too Many Cooks Always Spoil the Stew? An Experimental Analysis of Rent-Seeking and the Role of a Strategic Buyer," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1-2), pages 89-115, April.
  20. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  21. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  22. Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2005. "Incentives in Tournaments with Endogenous Prize Selection," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(4), pages 636-, December.
  23. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  24. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2009. "Experimental Comparison of Multi-Stage and One-Stage Contests," Working Papers 09-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  25. Glazer, Amihai & Hassin, Refael, 1988. "Optimal Contests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 133-43, January.
  26. Michael T. Maloney & Robert E. McCormick, 2000. "The Response of Workers to Wages in Tournaments," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(2), pages 99-123, May.
  27. Amegashie, J Atsu, 2000. " Some Results on Rent-Seeking Contests with Shortlisting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 245-53, December.
  28. Szymanski, Stefan & Valletti, Tommaso M., 2005. "Incentive effects of second prizes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 467-481, June.
  29. Gradstein, Mark & Konrad, Kai A, 1999. "Orchestrating Rent Seeking Contests," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 536-45, October.
  30. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  31. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
  32. David Bullock & E. Rutström, 2007. "Policy making and rent-dissipation: An experimental test," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 21-36, March.
  33. Szidarovszky, Ferenc & Okuguchi, Koji, 1997. "On the Existence and Uniqueness of Pure Nash Equilibrium in Rent-Seeking Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 135-140, January.
  34. Hillman, Arye L & Katz, Eliakim, 1984. "Risk-Averse Rent Seekers and the Social Cost of Monopoly Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(373), pages 104-10, March.
  35. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
  36. Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch & Matthias Krakel & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Sabotage in Corporate Contests - An Experimental Analysis," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 367-392.
  37. Edward Millner & Michael Pratt, 1989. "An experimental investigation of efficient rent-seeking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 139-151, August.
  38. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52101. 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: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.