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Lottery versus All-Pay Auction Contests: A Revenue Dominance Theorem

  • Franke, Jörg
  • Kanzow, Christian
  • Leininger, Wolfgang
  • Schwartz, Alexandra

We allow a contest organizer to bias a contest in a discriminatory way; i.e., she can favor specific contestants by designing the contest rule in order to maximize total equilibrium effort (resp. revenue). The two predominant contest regimes are considered, all-pay auctions and lottery contests. For all-pay auctions the optimal bias is derived in closed form: It implies extreme competitive pressure among active contestants and low endogenous entry. Moreover, the exclusion principle advanced by Baye et al. (1993) becomes obsolete in this case. In contrast, the optimally biased lottery induces larger entry of contestants due to softer competition. Our main result regarding total revenue comparison under the optimal biases reveals that the all-pay auction revenue dominates the lottery contest for all levels of heterogeneity among contestants. The incentive effect due to a strongly discriminating contest rule (all-pay auction) dominates the participation effect due to a weakly discriminating contest rule (lottery).

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79998.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79998
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  1. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Varies, C.G., 1990. "The All-Pay Auction With Complete Information," Papers 9051, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ron Siegel, 2010. "Asymmetric Contests with Conditional Investments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2230-60, December.
  5. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2002. "Asymmetric Contests with General Technologies," Keele Economics Research Papers KERP 2002/22, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
  6. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1987. "Politically Contestable Rents and Transfers," UCLA Economics Working Papers 452, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Gil S. Epstein & Yosef Mealem & Shmuel Nitzan, 2010. "Political Culture and Discrimination in Contests," Working Papers 2010-18, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  8. Kirkegaard, René, 2012. "Favoritism in asymmetric contests: Head starts and handicaps," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 226-248.
  9. Franke, Jörg, 2012. "Affirmative action in contest games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 105-118.
  10. 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.
  11. Gil S. Epstein & Yosef Mealem & Shmuel Nitzan, 2011. "Lotteries vs. All-Pay Auctions in Fair and Biased Contests," Working Papers 2011-29, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  12. Ian Gale & Mark Stegeman, 1994. "Exclusion in all-pay auctions," Working Paper 9401, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  13. Fu, Qiang & Lu, Jingfeng, 2006. "Contest design and optimal endogenous entry," MPRA Paper 945, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2000. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1784, Econometric Society.
  15. Qiang Fu, 2006. "A Theory of Affirmative Action in College Admissions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 420-428, July.
  16. Konrad, Kai A., 2009. "Strategy and Dynamics in Contests," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199549603, July.
  17. 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.
  18. Stein, William E, 2002. " Asymmetric Rent-Seeking with More Than Two Contestants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 325-36, December.
  19. Fang, Hanming, 2002. " Lottery versus All-Pay Auction Models of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 112(3-4), pages 351-71, September.
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