Tullock and Hirshleifer: A Meeting of the Minds

with J. Alcalde, Review of Economic Design, 2007, DOI

We introduce the serial contest by building on the desirable properties of two prominent contest games. This family of contest games relies both on relative efforts (as Tullock’s proposal) and on absolute effort differences (as difference-form contests). An additional desirable feature is that the serial contest is homogeneous of degree zero in contestants’ efforts. The family is characterized by a parameter representing how sensitive the outcome is to contestants’ efforts. It encompasses as polar cases the (fair) lottery and the (deterministic) all-pay auction. Equilibria have a close relationship to those of the (deterministic) all-pay auction and important properties of the latter hold for the serial contest, too.