Semi-Public Competitions

TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2008-23

centER Discussion Paper Series No. 2009-33

38 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2008 Last revised: 29 Sep 2013

See all articles by Jens Prufer

Jens Prufer

Tilburg University - CentER; Tilburg University - Department of Economics; Tilburg University - Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

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Date Written: February 22, 2010


The process of innovation is driven by two main factors: new inventions and institutions supporting the transformation of inventions into marketable innovations. This paper proposes a new institution, called a semi-public competition, that has been neglected by the economic literature but exists frequently in practice. I show how semi-public competitions can mitigate a dilemma that arises at an early stage of innovative activity and specify the conditions under which a semi-public competition can increase welfare. The results suggest that governments promote knowledge about the semi-public competition mechanism but refrain from direct public funding of competitions.

Keywords: Innovation, Organized Competitions, Entrepreneurs, Institutional Design, Business Plan Competitions, Auctions

JEL Classification: D02, D86, L10, O31

Suggested Citation

Prufer, Jens, Semi-Public Competitions (February 22, 2010). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2008-23, centER Discussion Paper Series No. 2009-33, Available at SSRN: or

Jens Prufer (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - CentER ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE

Tilburg University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE

Tilburg University - Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE

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