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Premium Auctions and Risk Preferences: An Experimental Study

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  • Brunner, Christoph
  • Hu, Audrey
  • Oechssler, Jörg

Abstract

In premium auctions, the highest losing bidder receives a reward from the seller. This paper studies the private value English premium auction (EPA) for different risk attitudes of bidders. We explicitly derive the symmetric equilibrium for bidders with CARA utilities and conduct an experimental study to test the theoretical predictions. In our experiment, subjects are sorted into risk-averse and risk loving groups. We find that revenues in the EPA are significantly higher when bidders are risk loving rather than risk averse. These results are partly consistent with theory and confirm the general view that bidders’ risk preferences constitute an important factor that affects bidding behavior and consequently also the seller’s expected revenue. However, individual subjects rarely follow the equilibrium strategy and as a result, revenue in our experiment is lower than in the symmetric equilibrium.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0544.

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Date of creation: 03 Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0544

Note: This paper is part of http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/view/schriftenreihen/sr-3.html
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Related research

Keywords: premium auction; risk preference; Holt-Laury method; experimental economics.;

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  1. Hu, Audrey & Matthews, Steven A. & Zou, Liang, 2010. "Risk aversion and optimal reserve prices in first- and second-price auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1188-1202, May.
  2. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  3. Paul Klemperer, 2002. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 169-189, Winter.
  4. 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.
  5. Ian Ayres & Peter Cramton, 1996. "Deficit Reduction Through Diversity: How Affirmative Action at the FCC Increased Auction Competition," Papers of Peter Cramton 96slr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  6. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  7. Hu, Audrey & Offerman, Theo & Onderstal, Sander, 2011. "Fighting collusion in auctions: An experimental investigation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 84-96, January.
  8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  9. Jacob K. Goeree & Theo Offerman, 2004. "Notes and Comments the Amsterdam Auction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 281-294, 01.
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