The Power of Money: Wealth Effects in Contests
50 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2013
Date Written: July 9, 2013
Two wealth effects typically arise in any contest: i) wealth decreases the marginal cost of effort, but also ii) decreases the marginal benefit of winning the contest. In this paper, we introduce three types of strategic contest models depending on whether the first, second, or both wealth effects play a role: namely, a privilege contest, an ability contest, and a rent-seeking contest. Our theoretical analysis reveals that the effects of wealth and wealth inequality are strongly “contestdependent” and are complex in the sense that they depend on the decisiveness of the contest and on the higher-order derivatives of theutility functions of wealth. Our analysis thus does not support general claims that the rich should lobby more or that low economic growth and wealth inequality should lead to additional conflicts.
Keywords: Conflict, contest, rent-seeking, wealth, risk aversion.
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