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We study an all-pay contest with multiple identical prizes (“lifeboat seats”). Prizes are partitioned into subsets of prizes (“lifeboats”). Players play a two-stage game. First, each player chooses an element of the partition (“a lifeboat”). Then each player competes for a prize in the subset chosen (“a seat”). We characterize and compare the subgame perfect equilibria in which all players employ pure strategies or all players play identical mixed strategies in the first stage. The partitioning of prizes can lead to coordination failure when players employ nondegenerate mixed strategies. In these equilibria some rents are sheltered and rent dissipation is reduced.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in European Economic Review. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in European Economic Review, volume 56, issue 3, in 2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2011.12.004

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