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Vickrey Auctions in Practice: From Nineteenth-Century Philately to Twenty-First-Century E-Commerce

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  • David Lucking-Reiley

Abstract

William Vickrey (1961) proposed an auction mechanism in which bidders submit sealed bids, and the highest bidder wins the good in return for payment of the second-highest bid amount. For decades, economists have credited Vickrey with inventing this auction format, and have believed that the Vickrey auction is rarely used in practice. This paper presents evidence that Vickrey auctions have long been the predominant auction format for mail sales of collectible postage stamps. Stamp auctioneers developed this auction format on their own, as early as 1893, even before Vickrey was born.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 183-192

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:3:p:183-192

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.3.183
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  1. Lucking-Reiley, David, 2000. "Auctions on the Internet: What's Being Auctioned, and How?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 227-52, September.
  2. Milgrom, Paul, 1989. "Auctions and Bidding: A Primer," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  3. Rothkopf, Michael H & Harstad, Ronald M, 1995. "Two Models of Bid-Taker Cheating in Vickrey Auctions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(2), pages 257-67, April.
  4. Richard Arnott, 1997. "William S. Vickrey: Contributions to Public Policy," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 387, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Benny Moldovanu & Manfred Tietzel, 1998. "Goethe's Second-Price Auction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 854-859, August.
  6. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using Field Experiments to Test Equivalence between Auction Formats: Magic on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1063-1080, December.
  7. Rothkopf, Michael H & Teisberg, Thomas J & Kahn, Edward P, 1990. "Why Are Vickrey Auctions Rare?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 94-109, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Dimson, Elroy & Spaenjers, Christophe, 2011. "Ex post: The investment performance of collectible stamps," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 443-458, May.
  2. Axel Ockenfels & David Reiley & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2006. "Online Auctions," NBER Working Papers 12785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "New Institutional Structures on the Internet: The Economic Design of Online Auctions," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-08, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  4. Teich, Jeffrey E. & Wallenius, Hannele & Wallenius, Jyrki & Koppius, Otto R., 2004. "Emerging multiple issue e-auctions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 159(1), pages 1-16, November.
  5. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortacsu, 2003. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Teich, J.E. & Wallenius, H. & Wallenius, J. & Koppius, O.R., 2003. "Emerging Multiple e-Auctions," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2003-058-LIS, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.
  7. Bernard, John C. & Zhang, Chao & Gifford, Katie, 2006. "An Experimental Investigation of Consumer Willingness to Pay for Non-GM Foods When an Organic Option Is Present," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 35(2), October.
  8. 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.

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