Contests & Conflict | 06/14/2023 | 04:00 PM
The Optimal Move Order in Two-Player Tullock Contests

Speaker: Zhewei Wang

Date & Time: Los Angeles (7 am), Cincinnati (10 am), Bath (3 pm), Munich (4 pm), Beijing (10 pm), Singapore (10 pm), Sydney (June 15, 12 am)

Zhewei Wang will present the paper titled "The Optimal Move Order in Two-Player Tullock Contests" (joint work with Lei Gao and Jingfeng Lu).

This talk is part of the Global Seminar on Contests & Conflict, an 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 (

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Abstract of the Paper:
This paper studies the optimal design of contestants' move order in a general two-player Tullock contest, allowing for a full range of the contest's accuracy (denoted by r) and players' asymmetry. We first provide a complete equilibrium analysis for sequential-move Tullock contests. We find that an equilibrium is either interior (both players are active) or preemptive (the follower is inactive). In a strong-lead sequential contest, there is a preemptive (resp. interior) equilibrium when the contest is sufficiently accurate (resp. noisy); in a weak-lead sequential contest, there can be a preemptive equilibrium if the players' asymmetry level is low. Using the equilibrium analysis, we investigate an effort maximizing designer's optimal choice among three contest formats: simultaneous, weak-lead, and strong-lead sequential contests. We find that a strong-lead sequential contest is optimal if the contest is sufficiently noisy (including r=1), but it is dominated by at least one other format otherwise. Surprisingly, a weak-lead sequential contest can be optimal if the weak leader chooses to preempt the strong follower in equilibrium. This paper provides a rationale for the diversity of contest designs observed in practice.

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

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