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Position Auctions with Consumer Search

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  • Susan Athey
  • Glenn Ellison

Abstract

This article examines a model in which advertisers bid for "sponsored-link" positions on a search engine. The value advertisers derive from each position is endogenized as coming from sales to a population of consumers who make rational inferences about firm qualities and search optimally. Consumer search strategies, equilibrium bidding, and the welfare benefits of position auctions are analyzed. Implications for reserve prices and a number of other auction design questions are discussed. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjr028
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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): 3 ()
Pages: 1213-1270

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:3:p:1213-1270

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  1. Emir Kamenica, 2008. "Contextual Inference in Markets: On the Informational Content of Product Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2127-49, December.
  2. Benjamin Edelman & Michael Ostrovsky & Michael Schwarz, 2005. "Internet Advertising and the Generalized Second Price Auction: Selling Billions of Dollars Worth of Keywords," NBER Working Papers 11765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Peter Cramton & Yoav Shoham & Richard Steinberg, 2007. "An Overview of Combinatorial Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 07oca, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2007.
  4. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew & Mobius, Markus, 2010. "Competing Auctions," Staff General Research Papers 32106, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Glenn Ellison & Alexander Wolitzky, 2012. "A search cost model of obfuscation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(3), pages 417-441, 09.
  6. Varian, Hal R., 2007. "Position auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1163-1178, December.
  7. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2004. "Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet," NBER Working Papers 10570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2011. "Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages F309-F328, November.
  9. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 2004. "Auctioning Many Divisible Goods," Papers of Peter Cramton 04jeea, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2004.
  10. Wilson, Chris M., 2010. "Ordered search and equilibrium obfuscation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 496-506, September.
  11. Tilman Borgers & Ingemar Cox & Martin Pesendorfer & Vaclav Petricek, 2007. "Equilibrium bids in sponsored search auctions: theory and evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4910, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  13. Demange, Gabrielle & Gale, David & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1986. "Multi-Item Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 863-72, August.
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