We study a model of imperfectly discriminating contests with two ex ante symmetric agents. We consider four institutional settings: Contestants move either sequentially or simultaneously and in addition their types are either public or private information. We find that an effort-maximizing designer of the contest prefers the sequential to the simultaneous setting from an ex ante perspective. Moreover, the sequential contest Pareto dominates the simultaneous one when the contestants’ types are sufficiently negatively correlated. Regarding the information structure, the designer ex ante prefers private information while the contestants prefer public information.
sequential contests asymmetric information rent-seeking