Contests & Conflict | 11/09/2022 | 03:00 PM
Optimal Contests with Incomplete Information and Convex Effort Costs

Speaker: Mengxi Zhang

Date & Time: Los Angeles (6 am), Cincinnati (9 am), Bath (2 pm), Munich (3 pm), Beijing (10 pm), Singapore (10 pm), Sydney (November 10, 1 am)

Mengxi Zhang will present the paper titled "Optimal Contests with Incomplete Information and Convex Effort Costs".

This talk is part of the Global Seminar on Contests & Conflict, a bi-weekly online seminar series with researchers from across the world. You can sign up to the Global Network to get information and invitations (including the Zoom Link for each event) about the Global Seminar hereMax-Planck-Institut für Steuerrecht und Öffentliche Finanzen: Global Seminar on Contests & Conflict (

Abstract of the Paper:
I investigate the design of effort-maximizing mechanisms when agents have both private information and convex effort costs, and the designer has a fixed prize budget. I first demonstrate that it is always optimal for the designer to utilize a contest with as many participants as possible. Further, I identify a necessary and sufficient condition for the winner-takes-all prize structure to be optimal. When this condition fails, the designer may prefer to award multiple prizes of descending sizes. I also provide a characterization of the optimal prize allocation rule for this case. Finally, I illustrate how the optimal prize distribution evolves as the contest size grows.

Chair: Qiang Fu, Co-Chair: Tracy Liu and Lionel Page

Contact Person

Event Team

Max-Planck-Institut für Steuerrecht und Öffentliche Finanzen

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