Incomplete Information and Rent Dissipation in Deterministic Contests


In a deterministic contest or all-pay auction, all rents are dissipated when information is complete and contestants are identical. As one contestant becomes “stronger”, that is, values the prize more, total expenditures are known to decrease monotonically. Thus, asymmetry among contestants reduces competition and rent dissipation. Recently, this result has been shown to hold for other, non-deterministic, contest success functions as well, thereby suggesting a certain robustness. In this paper, however, the complete information assumption is shown to be crucial. I examine a tractable incomplete information model for which the complete information model is a special case. With incomplete information –regardless of how little –total expenditures in a deterministic two-player contest increase when one contestant becomes marginally stronger, starting from a symmetric contest. In fact, both contestants expend resources more aggressively; with complete information, neither of them do so. Thus, there is a “discontinuity”in the information structure. JEL Classi…cation Numbers: C72, D44, D72, D82.

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@inproceedings{Kirkegaard2011IncompleteIA, title={Incomplete Information and Rent Dissipation in Deterministic Contests}, author={Ren{\'e} Kirkegaard}, year={2011} }