Two-stage elimination contests with optimal head starts

Noam Cohen, Guy Maor, Aner Sela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study two-stage elimination Tullock contests. In the first stage all the players compete against each other; then some advance to the second stage while the others are removed. The finalists compete against each other in the second stage, and one of them wins the prize. To maximize the expected total effort, the designer can give a head start to the winner of the first stage when he competes against the other finalists in the second stage. We show that the optimal head start, independent of the number of finalists, always increases the players’ expected total effort. We also show how the number of players and finalists affect the value of the optimal head start.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)177-192
Number of pages16
JournalReview of Economic Design
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Head starts
  • Multi-stage contests
  • Tullock contests

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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