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Do Auction Bids Betray Expectations-Based Reference Dependent Preferences? A Test, Experimental Evidence, And Estimates Of Loss Aversion

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  • A. BANERJI

    (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India)

  • NEHA GUPTA

    (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India)

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    Abstract

    In this paper, we provide a novel experimental auction design that exploits an exogenous variation in the probability of winning to test for the presence of expectations-based reference dependent preferences. We prove that (i) in this design, (which is a one parameter modification of a Becker-de Groote-Marschak (BDM) auction), a lower probability of winning will cause a loss averse agent to bid lower, for a large range of intrinsic values for the object. Data from an experiment demonstrate the existence of this effect. The effect would be absent if preferences were 'standard', or if the status quo was the reference point. Thus we contribute to the nascent literature that empirically documents the importance of expectations as a source of reference points. (ii) We further prove that the experimental design enables unique identification of participants' value distribution and loss averse than men. Finally, as a contribution to experimental methodology, we prove that the BDM mechanism will underestimate loss averse participants' values, we quantify the underestimation, and we suggest methods to bound this bias.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics in its series Working papers with number 206.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:206

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    Related research

    Keywords: Auctions; Expectations; Loss Aversion; Reference dependence;

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    References

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    1. Vincent P Crawford & Juanjuan Meng, 2008. "New York City Cabdrivers’ Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependent Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002281, David K. Levine.
    2. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000341, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
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    7. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Andreas Fuster, 2011. "Expectations as Endowments: Evidence on Reference-Dependent Preferences from Exchange and Valuation Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1879-1907.
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    11. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2009. "Nonparametric Identification of Risk Aversion in First-Price Auctions Under Exclusion Restrictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1193-1227, 07.
    12. Camerer, Colin, et al, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-41, May.
    13. Lusk,Jayson L. & Shogren,Jason F., 2007. "Experimental Auctions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521855167, October.
    14. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1988. " Theory and Individual Behavior of First-Price Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 61-99, March.
    15. Lange, Andreas & Ratan, Anmol, 2010. "Multi-dimensional reference-dependent preferences in sealed-bid auctions - How (most) laboratory experiments differ from the field," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 634-645, March.
    16. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
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