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Behaviorally Optimal Auction Design: Examples and Observations

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  • Vincent P. Crawford
  • Tamar Kugler
  • Zvika Neeman
  • Ady Pauzner

Abstract

This paper begins to explore behavioral mechanism design, replacing equilibrium by a model based on "level-k" thinking, which has strong support in experiments. In representative examples, we consider optimal sealed-bid auctions with two symmetric bidders who have independent private values, assuming that the designer knows the distribution of level-k bidders. We show that in a first-price auction, level-k bidding changes the optimal reserve price and often yields expected revenue that exceeds Myerson's (1981) bound; and that an exotic auction that exploits bidders' non-equilibrium beliefs can far exceed the revenue bound. We close with some general observations about level-k auction design. (JEL: C72, C92) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 377-387

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:377-387

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Cited by:
  1. Ellingsen, Tore & Östling, Robert, 2007. "When Does Communication Improve Coordination?," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 680, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 19 Jun 2008.
  2. Kaplan, Todd R & Zamir, Shmuel, 2014. "Advances in Auctions," MPRA Paper 54656, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Binswanger, J. & Prüfer, J., 2012. "Democracy, populism, and (un)bounded rationality," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5117897, Tilburg University.
  4. Björn Bartling & Nick Netzer, 2014. "An Externality-Robust Auction: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 4771, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Björn Bartling & Nick Netzer, 2014. "An externality-robust auction: theory and experimental evidence," ECON - Working Papers 153, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Bolton, Gary E. & Ockenfels, Axel, 2012. "Behavioral economic engineering," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 665-676.
  7. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Nagore Iriberri, 2013. "Structural Models of Nonequilibrium Strategic Thinking: Theory, Evidence, and Applications," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(1), pages 5-62, March.

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