Pushing the bad away: reverse Tullock contests

  • Bettina Rockenbach
  • Sebastian Schneiders
  • Marcin Waligora
Original Paper


The literature on rent-seeking primarily focuses on contests for achieving gains, although contests for avoiding losses are also omnipresent. Examples for such ‘reverse’ contests are activities to prevent the close-down of a local school or the construction of a waste disposal close-by. While under standard preferences, investments in ‘reverse’ and ‘conventional’ contests should not be different, loss aversion predicts contests for avoiding losses to be fiercer than conventional ones. In our experimental data, the difference in investments between conventional and reverse Tullock contests is small and statistically insignificant. We discuss several explanations for this remarkable finding.


Rent-seeking Contest Loss aversion Experiment 

JEL Classification

C72 C91 D72 



Financial support from the German Research Foundation (DFG) is gratefully acknowledged through FOR 1371. Sebastian Schneiders and Marcin Waligora thankfully acknowledge financial support by the Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences during their Ph.D. studies. We like to thank the editor and two anonymous referees for helpful suggestions and comments.

Supplementary material

40881_2018_52_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1058 kb)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair in Behavioral EconomicsUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social SciencesUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Frontier Economics Ltd.CologneGermany

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