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Why the Olympics have three prizes and not just one

  • Pavlo Blavatskyy
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    There are at least two reasons why multiple prizes can be optimal in symmetric imperfectly discriminating contests. First, the introduction of multiple prizes reduces the standard deviation of contestants’ effort in asymmetric equilibria, when the majority of contestants actively participate in competition. Second, the introduction of multiple prizes may increase the aggregate (average) effort contributed in the contest. When more of a total prize fund is shifted away from the first prize, on the one hand, the active contestants obtain an incentive to reduce their individual effort, but, on the other hand, the number of active contestants may increase. Therefore, the aggregate (average) effort may increase when the number of active contestants in equilibrium increases.

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    File URL: http://www.iew.uzh.ch/wp/iewwp200.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 200.

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    Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:200
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    1. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1993. "The Solution to the Tullock Rent-Seeking Game when R > 2: Mixed Strategy Equilibria and Mean Dissipation Rates," Papers 10-93-9, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    2. Perez-Castrillo, J David & Verdier, Thierry, 1992. " A General Analysis of Rent-Seeking Games," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(3), pages 335-50, April.
    3. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
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