Experimental Comparison of Multi-Stage and One-Stage Contests
Games and Economic Behavior, vol.
This article experimentally studies a two-stage elimination contest and compares its performance with a one-stage contest. Contrary to the theory, the two-stage contest generates higher revenue than the equivalent one-stage contest. There is significant over-dissipation in both stages of the two-stage contest and experience diminishes over-dissipation in the first stage but not in the second stage. Our experiment provides evidence that winning is a component in a subject's utility. A simple behavioral model that accounts for a non-monetary utility of winning can explain significant over-dissipation in both contests. It can also explain why the two-stage contest generates higher revenue than the equivalent one-stage contest.