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Collusion in auctions for emission permits: An experimental analysis

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  • Dallas Burtraw

    (Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future)

  • Jacob Goeree

    (Professor, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, CalTech)

  • Charles A. Holt

    (Professor, Economics, University of Virginia)

  • Erica Myers

    (Research Assistant, Resources for the Future)

  • Karen Palmer

    (Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future)

  • William Shobe

    (Director, Center for Economic and Policy Studies, University of Virginia)

Abstract

Environmental markets have several institutional features that provide a new context for the use of auctions and that have not been studied previously. This paper reports on laboratory experiments testing three auction forms-uniform and discriminatory price sealed-bid auctions and an ascending clock auction. We test the ability of subjects to tacitly or explicitly collude in order to maximize profits. Our main result is that the discriminatory and uniform price auctions produce greater revenues than the clock auction, both with and without explicit communication. The clock appears to facilitate successful collusion, both because of its sequential structure and because it allows bidders to focus on one dimension of cooperation (quantity) rather than two (price and quantity).© 2009 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 672-691

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:28:y:2009:i:4:p:672-691

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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References

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  1. Thomas Tröger & Rodney Garratt & Charles Zheng, 2008. "Collusion via Resale," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse20_2008, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Economics Papers 2004-W09, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. Porter, David & Rassenti, Stephen & Shobe, William & Smith, Vernon & Winn, Abel, 2009. "The design, testing and implementation of Virginia's NOx allowance auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 190-200, February.
  4. Cramton, Peter, 1998. "Ascending auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 745-756, May.
  5. Alsemgeest, P. & Noussair, C. & Olson, M., 1995. "Experimental Comparisons of Auctions Under Single and Multi Unit Demand," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1078, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  6. Haile, Philip A., 2003. "Auctions with private uncertainty and resale opportunities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 72-110, January.
  7. David Porter & Roumen Vragov, 2006. "An experimental examination of demand reduction in multi-unit versions of the Uniform-price, Vickrey, and English auctions," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(6), pages 445-458.
  8. Haile, Philip A., 2000. "Partial Pooling at the Reserve Price in Auctions with Resale Opportunities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 231-248, November.
  9. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2002. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C74-C96, March.
  10. Jacob K. Goeree & Theo Offerman & Randolph Sloof, 2009. "Demand reduction and preemptive bidding in multi-unit license auctions," IEW - Working Papers 430, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  11. Charles A. Holt & William Shobe & Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer & Jacob K. Goeree, 2007. "Auction Design for Selling CO2 Emission Allowances Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," Reports 2007-03, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
  12. Mason, Charles F & Phillips, Owen R & Nowell, Clifford, 1992. "Duopoly Behavior in Asymmetric Markets: An Experimental Evaluation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 662-70, November.
  13. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2006. "Summary of the Workshop to Support Implementing the Minimum 25 Percent Public Benefit Allocation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," Discussion Papers dp-06-45, Resources For the Future.
  14. Gautam Goswami & Thomas Noe & Michael Rebello, 1995. "Collusion in uniform-price auctions: experimental evidence and implications for Treasury auctions," Working Paper 95-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  15. Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer, 2008. "Compensation rules for climate policy in the electricity sector," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(4), pages 819-847.
  16. Charles A. Holt & William M. Shobe & Angela M. Smith, 2005. "An Experimental Basis for Public Policy Initiatives," Working Papers 2005-01, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
  17. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1995. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpdr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 22 Jul 2002.
  18. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-72, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt & Karen Palmer & William Shobe & Dallas Burtraw, 2010. "An Experimental Study of Auctions Versus Grandfathering to Assign Pollution Permits," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 514-525, 04-05.
  2. He, Haoran & Chen, Yefeng & Last Name, First Name, 2014. "Auction Mechanisms for Allocating Subsidies for Carbon Emissions Reduction: An Experimental Investigation," Discussion Papers dp-14-06-efd, Resources For the Future.
  3. Anthony M. Kwasnica & Katerina Sherstyuk, 2013. "Multi-Unit Auctions," Working Papers 201301, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  4. Veronika Grimm & Lyuba Ilieva, 2013. "An experiment on emissions trading: the effect of different allocation mechanisms," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 308-338, December.
  5. Reeson, Andrew F. & Rodriguez, Luis C. & Whitten, Stuart M. & Williams, Kristen & Nolles, Karel & Windle, Jill & Rolfe, John, 2011. "Adapting auctions for the provision of ecosystem services at the landscape scale," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(9), pages 1621-1627, July.
  6. Burtraw, Dallas & Goeree, Jacob & Holt, Charles & Myers, Erica & Palmer, Karen & Shobe, William, 2010. "Price Discovery in Emissions Permit Auctions," Discussion Papers dp-10-32, Resources For the Future.
  7. Anita Gantner & Wolfgang Höchtl & Rupert Sausgruber, 2011. "The Pivotal Mechanism Revisited: Some Evidence on Group Manipulation," Working Papers 2011-15, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  8. Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie M. Marx & David McAdams & Brian Murray, 2011. "Carbon Allowance Auction Design: An Assessment of Options for the United States," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 25-43, Winter.
  9. repec:vac:report:rpt13-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Martin Sefton & Ping Zhang, 2009. "Divisible-good uniform price auctions: the role of allocation rules and communication among bidders," Discussion Papers 2009-21, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  11. Regina Betz & Ben Greiner & Sascha Schweitzer & Stefan Seifert, 2014. "Auction Format and Auction Sequence in Multi-Item Multi-Unit Auctions - An experimental study," Discussion Papers 2014-31, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  12. Saral, Krista Jabs, 2010. "Speculation and Demand Reduction in English Clock Auctions with Resale," MPRA Paper 25139, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. David McAdams & Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie Marx & Brian Murray, . "Carbon Allowance Auction Design: An Assessment of Options for the U.S," Working Papers 10-64, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  14. Daniel Rondeau & Pascal Courty & Maurice Doyon, 2013. "Simultaneous Allocation of Bundled Goods Through Auctions: Assessing the Case for Joint Bidding," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-37, CIRANO.
  15. Holt, Charles A. & Johnson, Cathleen & Mallow, Courtney & Sullivan, Sean P., 2010. "Tragedy of the common canal," MPRA Paper 20838, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Cong, Rong-Gang & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2012. "Experimental comparison of impact of auction format on carbon allowance market," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 4148-4156.
  17. Francisco Alvarez & Francisco J. André, 2013. "Auctioning vs. Grandfathering in Cap-and-Trade Systems with Market Power and Incomplete Information," Working Papers 2013.98, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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