Optimal contest design: Volume and timing of rent seeking in contests

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This paper undertakes a comparative analysis of rent-seeking contests in terms of the amount and the timing of effort they elicit from the participants. The optimal contest structure - the one that maximizes the discounted sum of efforts - is found to hinge on the degree of impatience of the contest organizers, the more patient of whom prefer longer contests consisting of pairwise matches among the contestants. Heterogeneity of the contestants' quality also turns out to play an important role in the comparison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-585
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • C72
  • Contest design
  • D72
  • Economic analysis of contests
  • Rent seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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