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The equivalence of contests


  • Subhashish Modak Chowdhury

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Roman M. Sheremeta

    (Chapman University)


We use a Tullock-type contest model to show that intuitively and structurally different contests can be strategically and revenue equivalent to each other. We consider a two-player contest, where outcome-contingent payoffs are linear functions of prizes, own effort, and the effort of the rival. We identify strategically equivalent contests that generate the same family of best response functions and, as a result, the same revenue. However, two strategically equivalent contests may yield different equilibrium payoffs. Finally, we discuss possible contest design applications and avenues for future theoretical and empirical research.

Suggested Citation

  • Subhashish Modak Chowdhury & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2009. "The equivalence of contests," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 09-06, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  • Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:09-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1996. "Rent-Seeking Contest When the Prize Increases with Aggregate Efforts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 87(1-2), pages 55-66, April.
    2. Subhasish Chowdhury & Roman Sheremeta, 2011. "A generalized Tullock contest," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 413-420, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1989. "Politically Contestable Rents And Transfers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 17-39, March.
    5. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian, 2000. "Difference-Form Contests and the Robustness of All-Pay Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 22-43, January.
    6. Subhashish Modak Chowdhury, 2009. "The all-pay auction with non-monotonic payoff," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 09-09, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    7. Sheremeta, Roman M., 2010. "Experimental comparison of multi-stage and one-stage contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 731-747, March.
    8. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1992. "Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 720-739, September.
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    10. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2011. "Contest Design: An Experimental Investigation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 573-590, April.
    11. Lee, Sanghack & Hyeong Kang, J., 1998. "Collective contests with externalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 727-738, November.
    12. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A., 1999. "Taxation of rent-seeking activities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 61-72, April.
    13. 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.
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    15. Ron Siegel, 2009. "All-Pay Contests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(1), pages 71-92, January.
    16. Skaperdas, Stergios & Gan, Li, 1995. "Risk Aversion in Contests," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 951-962, July.
    17. Richard L. Fullerton & R. Preston McAfee, 1999. "Auctioning Entry into Tournaments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 573-605, June.
    18. Garfinkel, M.R. & Skaperdas, S., 2000. "Conflict without Misperceptions or Incomplete Information: how the Future Matters," Papers 99-00-11, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    19. Glenn C. Loury, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410.
    20. Baye, Michael R. & Hoppe, Heidrun C., 2003. "The strategic equivalence of rent-seeking, innovation, and patent-race games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 217-226, August.
    21. Subhashish Modak Chowdhury & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2009. "A generalized Tullock contest and the existence of multiple equilibria," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 09-08, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    22. Sheremeta, Roman & Masters, William & Cason, Timothy, 2009. "Contests with Random Noise and a Shared Prize," MPRA Paper 58271, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(1), pages 38-55, January.

    More about this item


    rent-seeking; contest; spillover; equivalence; revenue equivalence; contest design;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions


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