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s2smodern

We show how contest and rent-seeking functions can be thought of as persuasion functions that can be derived in a Bayesian setting. Two contestants (such as lobbyists or politicians) produce evidence for a decision-maker (such as an agency head or a voter) who has prior beliefs and possibly other biases and engages in Bayesian updating. The probability of each contestant winning depends on the resources and organization of the contestant, on the biases of the decison-maker, on the truth as well as on other factors. We discuss how this approach can be applied to lobbying government at its three branches (legislative, executive, and judicial, the latter in terms of litigation); political campaigning; general policy formulation and advocacy in the wider media; and ideological struggles.