Experimental tests of Tullock's contest with and without winner refunds

Chen Cohen, Tal Shavit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We examined experimentally the two-agent, complete-information Tullock's contest, with and without refund for the winner. We find that the average bids in the refund group are higher than the average bids in the group without a refund, consistent with the theory. However, the auctioneer does not increase his profit if he changes the design of the contest by reimbursing the winner's cost of effort. We also find underbidding for the low-valuation players and overbidding for the high-valuation player in a contest with a refund. Some players chose the corner solution of staying out of the game by biding zero.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-272
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • All pay auction
  • Refund
  • Rent-seeking
  • Sad loser auction
  • Winner take all


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