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An experimental study of auctions with a buy price under private and common values

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  • Shahriar, Quazi
  • Wooders, John

Abstract

eBay's Buy It Now format allows a seller to list an auction with a "buy price" at which a bidder may purchase the item immediately and end the auction. When bidders are risk averse, then theoretically a buy price can raise seller revenue when values are private (but not when values are common). We report the results of laboratory experiments designed to determine whether in practice a buy price is advantageous to the seller. We find that a suitably chosen buy price yields a substantial increase in seller revenue when values are private, and a small (but statistically insignificant) increase in revenue when values are common. In both cases a buy price reduces the variance of seller revenue. A behavioral model which incorporates the winner's curse and the overweighting by bidders of their own signal explains the common value auction data better than the rational model.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 72 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 558-573

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:72:y:2011:i:2:p:558-573

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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Keywords: Auction Buy price eBay Laboratory experiments Risk aversion Private values Common values;

References

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  1. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  2. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E Roth, 2003. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000433, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Christopher Avery & John H. Kagel, 1997. "Second-Price Auctions with Asymmetric Payoffs: An Experimental Investigation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 573-603, 09.
  4. Daniel Houser & John Wooders, 2006. "Reputation in Auctions: Theory, and Evidence from eBay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 353-369, 06.
  5. Theo Offerman, 2002. "Efficiency in Auctions with Private and Common Values: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 625-643, June.
  6. Timothy Salmon & Bart Wilson, 2008. "Second chance offers versus sequential auctions: theory and behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 47-67, January.
  7. Jeffrey C. Ely & Tanjim Hossain, 2009. "Sniping and Squatting in Auction Markets," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 68-94, August.
  8. John Wooders & Stanley S. Reynolds, 2004. "Auctions with a Buy Price," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 130, Econometric Society.
  9. Quazi Shahriar, 2008. "Common Value Auctions with Buy Prices," Working Papers 0031, San Diego State University, Department of Economics.
  10. Timothy Mathews, 2004. "The Impact of Discounting on an Auction with a Buyout Option: a Theoretical Analysis Motivated by eBay’s Buy-It-Now Feature," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 25-52, 01.
  11. Harstad, Ronald M., 1991. "Asymmetric bidding in second-price, common-value auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 249-252, March.
  12. Kagel, John H, et al, 1989. "First-Price Common Value Auctions: Bidder Behavior and the "Winner's Curse."," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(2), pages 241-58, April.
  13. Isaac, R Mark & James, Duncan, 2000. " Just Who Are You Calling Risk Averse?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 177-87, March.
  14. Timothy Mathews & Brett Katzman, 2006. "The role of varying risk attitudes in an auction with a buyout option," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 597-613, 04.
  15. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Riley, John G., 1991. "Equilibria in open common value auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 101-130, February.
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