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On the impact of package selection in combinatorial auctions: an experimental study in the context of spectrum auction design

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  • Tobias Scheffel

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  • Georg Ziegler

    ()

  • Martin Bichler

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    Abstract

    Combinatorial auctions have been studied analytically for several years, but only limited experimental results are available for auctions with more than 10 items. We investigate the Hierarchical Package Bidding auction (HPB), the Combinatorial Clock auction (CC), and one pseudo-dual price auction (PDP) experimentally, as all these formats were used or suggested for high-stakes spectrum auctions. We want to understand the impact that different auction formats have on bidder behavior and allocative efficiency. Interestingly, we find that the main source of inefficiency in all formats is the bidders’ preselection of packages, rather than their strategies or auction rules; bidders mostly preselect a small number of packages of interest early in the auction. CC achieves high efficiency and revenue in all experiments, but HPB yields similar results even in value models, where hierarchical pre-packaging is difficult. Due to their influence on the decision of the US Federal Communications Commission, we intentionally repeated a set of experiments conducted by Goeree and Holt (GH) [Games and Economic Behavior 70:146–169, 2010 ], and find similar aggregate results. In addition, we analyze the CC auction and find that this mechanism has advantages in environments where the auctioneers’ hierarchy does not fit the bidders’ preferences well. In addition to the value models with global synergies in GH, we used value models where bidders have local synergies, which play a significant role in spectrum auctions in the field and lead to different results. Copyright Economic Science Association 2012

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 667-692

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:15:y:2012:i:4:p:667-692

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

    Related research

    Keywords: Auctions; Lab experiments; Group behavior; Individual behavior; C91; C92; D44;

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    References

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    1. Moreton, Patrick S & Spiller, Pablo T, 1998. "What's in the Air: Interlicense Synergies in the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Personal Communication Service Spectrum Auctions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 677-716, October.
    2. Peter Cramton, 2009. "Auctioning the Digital Dividend," Papers of Peter Cramton 09add, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2009.
    3. Güth, Werner & Vittoria Levati, M. & Ploner, Matteo, 2010. "Satisficing in strategic environments: A theoretical approach and experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 554-561, October.
    4. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1997. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 497-527, 09.
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    6. Christoph Brunner & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt & John O. Ledyard, 2010. "An Experimental Test of Flexible Combinatorial Spectrum Auction Formats," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 39-57, February.
    7. John O. Ledyard & David Porter & Antonio Rangel, 1997. "Experiments Testing Multiobject Allocation Mechanisms," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 639-675, 09.
    8. Jeffrey S. Banks & John O. Ledyard & David P. Porter, 1989. "Allocating Uncertain and Unresponsive Resources: An Experimental Approach," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 1-25, Spring.
    9. Schneider, S. & Shabalin, P. & Bichler, M., 2010. "On the robustness of non-linear personalized price combinatorial auctions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 206(1), pages 248-259, October.
    10. John H. Kagel & Yuanchuan Lien & Paul Milgrom, 2010. "Ascending Prices and Package Bidding: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 160-85, August.
    11. Chen, Yan & Takeuchi, Kan, 2010. "Multi-object auctions with package bidding: An experimental comparison of Vickrey and iBEA," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 557-579, March.
    12. R. Isaac & Duncan James, 2000. "Robustness of the Incentive Compatible Combinatorial Auction," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 31-53, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Martin Bichler & Pasha Shabalin & Jürgen Wolf, 2013. "Do core-selecting Combinatorial Clock Auctions always lead to high efficiency? An experimental analysis of spectrum auction designs," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 511-545, December.

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