The vast contest literature disregarded the possibility of optimal contest design with simultaneous attainment of various objectives. The main goal of the current article is to illustrate the potential usefulness of a navigation tool that allows the designer to achieve, simultaneously, multiple objectives in contests between companies (competing for resources/patents/market-share, etc), based on a unit tax and a lump-sum subsidy. Our proposal is illustrated applying the most common simple setting of two contestants whose winning probabilities are determined by the simple lottery contest success function (CSF). We focus on seven main objectives: reducing the competition's intensity in terms of efforts: increasing profit for the state treasury; promoting equality between the players in terms of gap between the contestants' efforts, winning probabilities and expected payoffs, and budget and expenditure balancing. We also analyze the possible negative external effects of achieving a particular objective. Our main insight is that a complete differential policy can be used to attain, simultaneously (with two exceptions), all the objectives of the designer. In contrast, the use of a uniform policy, subject to a balanced budget objective, cannot ensure complete equality or maximize profit. It nevertheless guarantees a Pareto-superior outcome relative to the situation before the designer's intervention. Future research may generalize the findings to any type of contest or CSF and multiple contestants.
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© 2023 The Authors. Economics & Politics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- discriminatory taxation
- optimal contest design