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A Comparison of Auctions and Multilateral Negotiations

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  • Charles J. Thomas
  • Bart J. Wilson

Abstract

We compare first-price auctions to an exchange process that we term ``multilateral negotiations.'' In multilateral negotiations, a buyer solicits price offers for a homogeneous product from sellers with privately known costs, and then plays the sellers off one another to obtain additional price concessions. Using the experimental method, we find that with four sellers, transaction prices are statistically indistinguishable in the two institutions, but with two sellers, prices are higher in multilateral negotiations than in first-price auctions. The institutions are equally efficient with two sellers, but multilateral negotiations are slightly more efficient with four sellers.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 33 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 140-155

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:33:y:2002:i:spring:p:140-155

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Cited by:
  1. Jim Engle-Warnick & Bradley Ruffle, 2006. "Buyer Concentration As A Source Of Countervailing Power: Evidence From Experimental Posted-Offer Markets," Departmental Working Papers 2006-12, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  2. Mago, Shakun & Samak, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2013. "Facing Your Opponents: Social Identification and Information Feedback in Contests," MPRA Paper 47029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Jim Engle-Warnick & Bradley J Ruffle, 2002. "Buyer Countervailing Power versus Monopoly Power: Evidence from Experimental Posted-Offer Markets," Economics Series Working Papers 2002-W14, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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