An axiomatization of difference-form contest success functions

Maria Cubel, Santiago Sanchez-Pages

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


This paper presents an axiomatic characterization of difference-form group contests, that is, contests fought among groups and where their probability of victory depends on the difference of their effective efforts. This axiomatization rests on the property of Equalizing Consistency, stating that the difference between winning probabilities in the grand contest and in the smaller contest should be identical across all participants in the smaller contest. This property overcomes some of the drawbacks of the widely-used ratio-form contest success
functions. Our characterization shows that the criticisms commonly-held against difference-form contests success functions, such as lack of scale invariance and zero elasticity of augmentation, are unfounded.
By clarifying the properties of this family of contest success functions, this axiomatization can help researchers to find the functional form
better suited to their application of interest.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh School of Economics Discussion Paper Series
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2015

Publication series

NameESE Discussion Papers


  • Contests
  • Groups
  • Contest success function
  • Axioms
  • D31
  • D63
  • D72
  • D74


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