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.
Sheremeta, R.M. (2009). Experimental comparison of multi-stage and one-stage contests. ESI Working Paper 09-04. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/esi_working_papers/138