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

Affirmative Action through Extra Prizes

  • Dahm, Matthias
  • Esteve, Patrícia,

Some affirmative action policies establish that a set of disadvantaged competitors has access to an extra prize. Examples are gender quotas or a prize for national competitors in an international competition. We analyse the effects of creating an extra prize by reducing the prize in the main competition. Contestants differ in ability and agents with relatively low ability belong to a disadvantaged minority. All contestants compete for the main prize, but only disadvantaged agents can win the extra prize. We show that an extra prize is a powerful tool to ensure participation of disadvantaged agents. Moreover, for intermediate levels of the disadvantage of the minority, introducing an extra prize increases total equilibrium effort compared to a standard contest. Thus, even a contest designer not interested in affirmative action might establish an extra prize in order to enhance competition. Keywords: Asymmetric contest, equality of opportunity, affirmative action, discrimination, prize structure, exclusion principle. JEL: C72, D72, I38, J78

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2072/222197.

in new window

Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:urv:wpaper:2072/222197
Contact details of provider: Postal: Avda. de la Universitat,1 - 43204 Reus (Tarragona)
Phone: 977 75 98 00
Fax: 977 75 98 10
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. Alcalde, José & Matthias, Dahm, 2011. "Competition for Procurement Shares," QM&ET Working Papers 11-3, Universidad de Alicante, Departamento de Métodos Cuantitativos y Teoría Económica.
  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. Corchón, Luis C. & Dahm, Matthias, 2008. "Foundations for contest success functions," Working Papers 2072/9493, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
  4. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
  5. Konrad, Kai A., 2009. "Strategy and Dynamics in Contests," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199549603.
  6. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2000. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1784, Econometric Society.
  7. Clark, Derek J & Riis, Christian, 1998. "Competition over More Than One Prize," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 276-89, March.
  8. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1992. "Asymmetric Tournaments, Equal Opportunity Laws, and Affirmative Action: Some Experimental Results," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 511-39, May.
  9. James Fain, 2009. "Affirmative Action Can Increase Effort," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 168-175, June.
  10. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1992. "Rigging the Lobbying Process: An Application of the All- Pay Auction," Papers 9-92-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  11. Gianni De Fraja, 2005. "Reverse Discrimination And Efficiency In Education," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(3), pages 1009-1031, 08.
  12. Fu, Qiang & Lu, Jingfeng, 2009. "The beauty of "bigness": On optimal design of multi-winner contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 146-161, May.
  13. Stergios Skaperdas, 1996. "Contest success functions (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-290.
  14. Fang, Hanming, 2002. " Lottery versus All-Pay Auction Models of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 112(3-4), pages 351-71, September.
  15. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2006. "Biased Contests," Working Papers 06.21, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  16. Szymanski, Stefan & Valletti, Tommaso M., 2005. "Incentive effects of second prizes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 467-481, June.
  17. Michael H. Rothkopf & Ronald M. Harstad & Yuhong Fu, 2003. "Is Subsidizing Inefficient Bidders Actually Costly?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(1), pages 71-84, January.
  18. Möller, Marc, 2012. "Incentives versus competitive balance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 505-508.
  19. Qiang Fu, 2006. "A Theory of Affirmative Action in College Admissions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 420-428, July.
  20. Kirkegaard, René, 2012. "Favoritism in asymmetric contests: Head starts and handicaps," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 226-248.
  21. Caterina Calsamiglia & Jörg Franke & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2009. "The Incentive Effects of Affirmative Action in a Real-Effort Tournament," Working Papers 404, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  22. David Pérez-Castrillo & David Wettstein, 2014. "Innovation Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 4712, CESifo Group Munich.
  23. Farmer, Amy & Pecorino, Paul, 1999. " Legal Expenditure as a Rent-Seeking Game," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(3-4), pages 271-88, September.
  24. Alcalde, José & Dahm, Matthias, 2010. "Rent seeking and rent dissipation: A neutrality result," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 1-7, February.
  25. Hanming Fang & Andrea Moro, 2010. "Theories of Statistical Discrimination and Affirmative Action: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 15860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Ewerhart II, Christian & Fieseler, Karsten, 2002. "Procurement Auctions and Unit-Price Contracts," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-11, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  27. José Alcalde & Matthias Dahm, 2007. "Tullock And Hirshleifer: A Meeting Of The Minds," Working Papers. Serie AD 2007-13, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  28. Franke, Jörg, 2012. "Affirmative action in contest games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 105-118.
  29. Jennifer Brown, 2011. "Quitters Never Win: The (Adverse) Incentive Effects of Competing with Superstars," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(5), pages 982 - 1013.
  30. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2002. "Contest Architecture," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  31. Hanming Fang & Peter Norman, 2006. "Government-Mandated Discriminatory Policies: Theory And Evidence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 361-389, 05.
  32. Ghazala Azmat & Marc Möller, 2008. "Competition amongst contests," Economics Working Papers 1072, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  33. Jörg Franke & Christian Kanzow & Wolfgang Leininger & Alexandra Schwartz, 2013. "Effort maximization in asymmetric contest games with heterogeneous contestants," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 589-630, March.
  34. Aner Sela, 2012. "Sequential two-prize contests," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 383-395, October.
  35. J�rg Franke, 2012. "The incentive effects of levelling the playing field -- an empirical analysis of amateur golf tournaments," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(9), pages 1193-1200, March.
  36. 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.
  37. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2005. "Asymmetric contests with general technologies," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 923-946, November.
  38. Stein, William E, 2002. " Asymmetric Rent-Seeking with More Than Two Contestants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 325-36, December.
  39. Ian Ayres & Peter Cramton, 1996. "Deficit Reduction Through Diversity: How Affirmative Action at the FCC Increased Auction Competition," Papers of Peter Cramton 96slr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  40. Pastine, Ivan & Pastine, Tuvana, 2012. "Student incentives and preferential treatment in college admissions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 123-130.
  41. Lee, Sam-Ho, 2013. "The incentive effect of a handicap," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 42-45.
  42. Dmitry Ryvkin, 2013. "Heterogeneity of Players and Aggregate Effort in Contests," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 728-743, December.
  43. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2011. "Gender and Competition," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 601-630, 09.
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:urv:wpaper:2072/222197. 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: (Ariadna Casals)

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.