Property rights and loss aversion in contests

M. Chowdhury, Subhasish, Jeon, Joo Young and Ramalingam, Abhijit (2018) Property rights and loss aversion in contests. Economic Inquiry, 56 (3). pp. 1492-1511. ISSN 0095-2583

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We analyze the effects of property rights and the resulting loss aversion on contest outcomes. We study three situations: in ‘gain’ two players start with no prize and make sunk bids to win a prize; in ‘loss’ both the players start with prizes and whoever loses the contest loses their prize; and in ‘mixed’ only one player starts with a prize that stays with him if he wins, but is transferred to the rival otherwise. Since the differences among the treatments arise only from framing, the expected utility and the standard loss aversion models predict no difference in bids across treatments. We introduce a loss aversion model in which the property rights are made salient, and as a result the reference point varies across treatments. This model predicts average bids in descending order in the loss, the mixed, and the gain treatment; and higher bids by the player with property rights in the mixed treatment. The results from a laboratory experiment broadly support these predictions. There is no significant difference in bids in the loss (gain) treatment and bids by property rights holder (non-holder) in the mixed treatment. A model incorporating both loss aversion and social preferences explains this result.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: contest,experiment,framing,property-rights,loss aversion
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2017 05:06
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 02:57
DOI: 10.1111/ecin.12505


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