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Gambling in Contests

  • Seel, Christian
  • Strack, Philipp

This paper presents a strategic model of risk-taking behavior in contests. Formally, we analyze an n-player winner-take-all contest in which each player decides when to stop a privately observed Brownian Motion with drift. A player whose process reaches zero has to stop. The player with the highest stopping point wins. Contrary to the explicit cost for a higher stopping time in a war of attrition, here, higher stopping times are riskier, because players can go bankrupt. We derive a closed-form solution of the unique Nash equilibrium outcome of the game. In equilibrium, the trade-off between risk and reward causes a non-monotonicity: highest expected losses occur if the process decreases only slightly in expectation.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 375.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:375
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  1. Lones Smith & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2007. "Optimal Dynamic Contests," 2007 Meeting Papers 249, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Arye Hillman & Dov Samet, 1987. "Dissipation of contestable rents by small numbers of contenders," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 63-82, January.
  3. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2007. "The War of Information," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000921, UCLA Department of Economics.
    • Gul, Faruk & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 2010. "The War of Information," Papers 9-13-2010, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  4. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "A Theory of Exit in Duopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 943-60, July.
  5. Kovenock, D. & de Vries, C.G., 1995. "The All-Pay Auction with Complete Information," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 311.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  6. Andreas Park & Lones Smith, 2008. "Caller Number Five and Related Timing Games," Working Papers tecipa-317, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  7. Hans K. Hvide, 2000. "Tournament Rewards and Risk Taking," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0163, Econometric Society.
  8. Harris, Christopher & Vickers, John, 1987. "Racing with Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 1-21, January.
  9. 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.
  10. Pedersen, J. L. & Peskir, G., 2001. "The Azéma-Yor embedding in non-singular diffusions," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 305-312, December.
  11. Axel Anderson & Luís M. B. Cabral, 2007. "Go for broke or play it safe? Dynamic competition with choice of variance," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(3), pages 593-609, 09.
  12. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
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