Productive and Unproductive Competition: A Unified Framework

Economia Politica (Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics), 2017

Posted: 6 May 2014 Last revised: 4 Mar 2018

See all articles by Alice Guerra

Alice Guerra

Copenhagen Business School

Barbara Luppi

University of St. Thomas School of Law; Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) - Faculty of Business and Economics

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School; University of Bologna

Date Written: September 30, 2017

Abstract

Conventional theories of competition classify contests as being either ‘‘productive,’ when the competitive efforts generate a surplus for society, or ‘‘unproductive,’ when competition generates no social surplus and merely distributes already existing resources. These two discrete categories of competition create a division of real-world situations into analytical categories that fails to recognize the entire spectrum of competitive activities. Taking the existing models of productive and unproductive competition as benchmark idealizations, this paper revisits the relationship between the privately and socially optimal levels of competition in the full range of intermediate cases, as well as in the extremum cases of destructive and super-productive competition.

Keywords: Contests, Rent seeking, Unproductive competition, Productive competition, Patent races

JEL Classification: C72, D72

Suggested Citation

Guerra, Alice and Luppi, Barbara and Parisi, Francesco, Productive and Unproductive Competition: A Unified Framework (September 30, 2017). Economia Politica (Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics), 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2433607 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2433607

Alice Guerra (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Porcelænshaven 24A
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark
+45 15 35 37 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/aliceguerrahome/home

Barbara Luppi

University of St. Thomas School of Law

2115 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States

Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Viale Berengario 51
41100 Modena, Modena 41100
Italy

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
40126 Bologna, fc 47100
Italy

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