Kevin Drum asks why conservatives like prizes so much? Which makes me wonder, is it more popular with conservatives? To me, they are just a tool. It’s clear you can organize them in ways that are very productive and constructive [1, 2]
Winners tend to like contests, since having mostly won they think they are fun. But I don’t see any reason to argue that conservatives are more likely to be winners. Leaders on both side of the political spectrum are probably winners.
Contests; as a contracting device, pay for outcome rather than labor. I.e. contests are piece work. The left is more sympathetic to labor. All the risk is left with the contestants. A contest sponsor can write the rules in ways that are highly advantageous for him. Netflix’s search contest did that. While Google’s android contest did not. See my previous posting about NASA to offer prizes. The question is always, do you trust the house.