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Comparing open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Evidence from Timber Auctions

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  • Susan Athey
  • Jonathan Levin
  • Enrique Seira

Abstract

We study entry and bidding patterns in sealed bid and open auctions. Using data from the U.S. Forest Service timber auctions, we document a set of systematic effects: sealed bid auctions attract more small bidders, shift the allocation toward these bidders, and can also generate higher revenue. A private value auction model with endogenous participation can account for these qualitative effects of auction format. We estimate the model's parameters and show that it can explain the quantitative effects as well. We then use the model to assess bidder competitiveness, which has important consequences for auction design. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 126 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 207-257

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:1:p:207-257

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References

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  1. Jonathan Levin & Susan Athey & Enrique Seira, 2004. "Comparing Open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Theory and Evidence from Timber Auctions," Working Papers 2004.142, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Martin Pesendorfer, 2003. "Estimation of a Dynamic Auction Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1443-1489, 09.
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  4. Philip A. Haile & Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values in First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1445, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Susan Athey & Philip A. Haile, 2002. "Identification of Standard Auction Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2107-2140, November.
  6. Steven A. Matthews, 1985. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Pointof View," Discussion Papers 664R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  17. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin, 1999. "Information and Competition in U.S. Forest Service Timber Auctions," Working papers 99-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  18. Baldwin, Laura H & Marshall, Robert C & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1997. "Bidder Collusion at Forest Service Timber Sales," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 657-99, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2010. "Empirical Industrial Organization: A Progress Report," Discussion Papers 09-010, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. Farnia, Farnoush & Frayret, Jean-Marc & LeBel, Luc & Beaudry, Catherine, 2013. "Multiple-round timber auction design and simulation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 129-141.
  3. Jun Nakabayashi, 2009. "Small Business Set-asides in Procurement Auctions: An Empirical Analysis," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2009-005, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, revised Nov 2009.
  4. Marmer, Vadim & Shneyerov, Artyom & Xu, Pai, 2007. "What Model for Entry in First-Price Auctions? A Nonparametric Approach," Microeconomics.ca working papers marmer-07-11-22-02-26-44, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 18 Feb 2011.
  5. Elena Krasnokutskaya & Katja Seim, 2011. "Bid Preference Programs and Participation in Highway Procurement Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2653-86, October.
  6. Matthew Gentry & Tong Li, 2012. "Identifcation in auctions with selective entry," CeMMAP working papers CWP38/12, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Hongbin Cai & J. Vernon Henderson & Qinghua Zhang, 2009. "China's Land Market Auctions: Evidence of Corruption," NBER Working Papers 15067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kevin Yili Hong & Alex Chong Wang & Paul A. Pavlou, 2013. "How does Bid Visibility Matter in Buyer-Determined Auctions? Comparing Open and Sealed Bid Auctions in Online Labor Markets," Working Papers 13-05, NET Institute.
  9. Hill, Jonathan B. & Shneyerov, Artyom, 2013. "Are there common values in first-price auctions? A tail-index nonparametric test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 174(2), pages 144-164.
  10. Hanming Fang & Xun Tang, 2013. "Inference of Bidders’ Risk Attitudes in Ascending Auctions with Endogenous Entry," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-056, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Hu, Audrey & Offerman, Theo & Zou, Liang, 2011. "Premium auctions and risk preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2420-2439.

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