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Sniping and Squatting in Auction Markets

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  • Jeffrey C. Ely
  • Tanjim Hossain

Abstract

We conducted a field experiment to test the benefit from late bidding (sniping) in online auction markets. We compared sniping to early bidding (squatting) in auctions for newly-released DVDs on eBay. Sniping led to a statistically significant increase in our average surplus. However, this improvement was small. The two bidding strategies resulted in a variety of other qualitative differences in the outcomes of auctions. We show that a model of multiple concurrent auctions, in which our opponents are naive or incremental bidders as identified in the lab, explain the results well. Our findings illustrate how the overall impact of naivete, and the benefit from sniping observed in the lab, may be substantially attenuated in real-world market settings. (JEL D44)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 68-94

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:68-94

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.1.2.68
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References

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  1. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2003. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," CESifo Working Paper Series 987, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Bajari, Patrick & Hortacsu, Ali, 2003. " The Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices, and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 329-55, Summer.
  3. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  4. Tanjim Hossain, 2008. "Learning by bidding," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 509-529.
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Cited by:
  1. Steven Tucker & Charles Noussair & Anthony M. Kwasnica & Katerina Sherstyuk, 2013. "Multiunit Auctions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 461-490, 07.
  2. Elfenbein, Daniel W. & McManus, Brian, 2010. "Last-minute bidding in eBay charity auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 42-45, April.
  3. Bryan Lim, 2010. "The Case for Last-Second Bidding," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000343, David K. Levine.
  4. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Holmes, Jessica & Matthews, Peter Hans, 2011. "Jumping and sniping at the silents: Does it matter for charities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 395-402.
  5. Glover, Brent & Raviv, Yaron, 2012. "Revenue non-equivalence between auctions with soft and hard closing mechanisms: New evidence from Yahoo!," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 129-136.
  6. Genti Kostandini & Elton Mykerezi & Eftila Tanellari & Nour Dib, 2011. "Does Buyer Experience Pay Off? Evidence from eBay," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 253-265, November.
  7. Ben Rhouma, Tarek & Zaccour, Georges, 2012. "An empirical investigation of late bidding in online auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 715-717.
  8. Tim Grebe & Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel & Sabine Kröger, 2009. "Buy-it-Now Prices in eBay Auctions-The Field in the Lab," Cahiers de recherche 0950, CIRPEE.
  9. Shahriar, Quazi & Wooders, John, 2011. "An experimental study of auctions with a buy price under private and common values," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 558-573, June.
  10. Taylor, Greg, 2012. "Defensive sniping and efficiency in simultaneous hard-close proxy auctions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 51-58.
  11. Kevin Hasker & Robin Sickles, 2010. "eBay in the Economic Literature: Analysis of an Auction Marketplace," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 3-42, August.
  12. Sean Gray & David H. Reiley, 2013. "Measuring the Benefits to Sniping on eBay: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 9(2), pages 137-152, July.
  13. Daniel W. Elfenbein & Brian McManus, 2010. "A Greater Price for a Greater Good? Evidence That Consumers Pay More for Charity-Linked Products," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 28-60, May.
  14. Nunley, John M. & Owens, Mark F. & Howard, R. Stephen, 2011. "The effects of information and competition on racial discrimination: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 670-679.

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