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Best foot forward or best for last in a sequential auction?

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  • Archishman Chakraborty
  • Nandini Gupta
  • Rick Harbaugh

Abstract

Should an informed seller of multiple goods sell the best goods first to make a favorable impression on buyers, or instead hold back on the best goods until buyers have learned more from earlier sales? To help answer this question we consider the sequential auction of two goods by a seller with private information about their values. We find that the seller's sequencing strategy endogenously generates correlation in the values of the goods across periods, thereby giving the seller an incentive to impress buyers by leading with the better good. This impression effect implies that selling the better good first is the unique equilibrium in many situations, and that selling the better good last is never a unique equilibrium. Nevertheless, if the seller could commit to a sequencing strategy, revenues would often be higher from waiting to sell the better good last. Either sequencing strategy reveals the seller's ranking of the goods and thereby, due to the linkage principle, generates higher revenues than either randomly selling the goods or selling them simultaneously.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1756-2171.2006.tb00011.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 176-194

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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:1:p:176-194

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References

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  1. Florencio Lopez-de-Silane, 1996. "Determinants of Privatization Prices," NBER Working Papers 5494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Audra L. Boone & J. Harold Mulherin, . "Corporate Restructuring and Corporate Auctions," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-38, Claremont Colleges.
  3. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  4. GINSBURGH, Victor, . "Absentee bidders and the declining price anomaly in wine auctions," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1364, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Nandini Gupta & John C. Ham & Jan Svejnar, 2000. "Priorities and Sequencing in Privatization: Theory and Evidence from the Czech Republic," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 323, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  6. Archishman Chakraborty & Nandini Gupta, 2004. "Ordinal Cheap Talk in Common Value Auctions," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 605, Econometric Society.
  7. Luton, Richard & McAfee, R. Preston, 1986. "Sequential procurement auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 181-195, November.
  8. Victor Ginsburgh & Pierre-Michel Menger, 1996. "Economics of the Arts: Selected essays," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/152420, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2003. "Ordinal Cheap Talk," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2003-05, Claremont Colleges.
  10. Bernhardt, Dan & Scoones, David, 1994. "A Note on Sequential Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 653-57, June.
  11. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon, 2002. "Privatization benefits in Eastern Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 307-324, March.
  12. Chakraborty, Archishman & Harbaugh, Rick, 2003. "Cheap talk comparisons in multi-issue bargaining," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 357-363, March.
  13. Archishman Chakraborty & Nandini Gupta & Rick Harbaugh, 2002. "Seller Cheap Talk in Common Value Auctions," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-30, Claremont Colleges.
  14. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
  15. McAfee R. Preston & Vincent Daniel, 1993. "The Declining Price Anomaly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-212, June.
  16. Donald B. Hausch, 1986. "Multi-Object Auctions: Sequential vs. Simultaneous Sales," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(12), pages 1599-1610, December.
  17. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  18. Raviv, Yaron, 2006. "New Evidence on Price Anomalies in Sequential Auctions: Used Cars in New Jersey," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 301-312, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2012. "Persuasive Puffery," Working Papers 2012-05, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  2. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2010. "Persuasion by Cheap Talk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2361-82, December.
    • Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2006. "Persuasion by Cheap Talk," Working Papers 2006-10, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, revised Oct 2009.
  3. Grether, David M. & Plott, Charles R., . "Sequencing strategies in large, competitive, ascending price automobile auctions: An experimental examination," Working Papers 1253, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Carolyn Pitchik, 1989. "Budget-Constrained Sequential Auctions With Incomplete Information," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 201, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2003. "Ordinal Cheap Talk," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2003-05, Claremont Colleges.
  6. Chakraborty, Archishman & Harbaugh, Rick, 2007. "Comparative cheap talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 70-94, January.
    • Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2004. "Comparative Cheap Talk," Working Papers 2004-08, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  7. Gupta, Nandini & Ham, Jhon C. & Svejnar, Jan, 2008. "Priorities and sequencing in privatization: Evidence from Czech firm panel data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 183-208, February.
  8. Eric Schmidbauer, 2013. "New and Improved?," Working Papers 2013-01, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  9. Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2013. "Asymmetric Multiple-Object First-Price Auctions," School of Economics Working Papers 2013-07, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.

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