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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Fang, Hanming, 2002. " Lottery versus All-Pay Auction Models of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 112(3-4), pages 351-71, September.
  2. Ian Gale & Mark Stegeman, 1994. "Exclusion in all-pay auctions," Working Paper 9401, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 2003. "Optimal Design of Research Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 646-671, June.
  4. Ron Siegel, 2010. "Asymmetric Contests with Conditional Investments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2230-60, December.
  5. Gil S. Epstein & Yosef Mealem & Shmuel Nitzan, 2010. "Political Culture and Discrimination in Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 3170, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Gil S. Epstein & Yosef Mealem & Shmuel Nitzan, 2013. "Lotteries vs. All-Pay Auctions in Fair and Biased Contests," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 48-60, 03.
  7. 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.
  8. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2005. "Asymmetric contests with general technologies," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 923-946, November.
  9. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1991. "The All-Pay Auction With Complete Information," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1007, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  10. Konrad, Kai A., 2009. "Strategy and Dynamics in Contests," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199549603.
  11. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1987. "Politically Contestable Rents and Transfers," UCLA Economics Working Papers 452, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Stein, William E, 2002. " Asymmetric Rent-Seeking with More Than Two Contestants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 325-36, December.
  13. Baye, Michael R & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G, 1993. "Rigging the Lobbying Process: An Application of the All-Pay Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 289-94, March.
  14. Franke, Jörg, 2012. "Affirmative action in contest games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 105-118.
  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. Qiang Fu & Jingfeng Lu, 2010. "Contest Design And Optimal Endogenous Entry," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 80-88, 01.
  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. 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.
  19. Kirkegaard, René, 2012. "Favoritism in asymmetric contests: Head starts and handicaps," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 226-248.
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