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Should Auctions Be Transparent?

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  • Dirk Bergemann
  • Johannes Horner

Abstract

We investigate the role of market transparency in repeated first-price auctions. We consider a setting with private and independent values across bidders. The values are assumed to be perfectly persistent over time. We analyze the first-price auction under three distinct disclosure regimes regarding the bid and award history. Of particular interest is the minimal disclosure regime, in which each bidder only learns privately whether he won or lost the auction at the end of each round. In equilibrium, the winner of the initial auction lowers his bids over time, while losers keep their bids constant, in anticipation of the winner's lower future bids. This equilibrium is efficient, and all information is eventually revealed. Importantly, this disclosure regime does not give rise to pooling equilibria. We contrast the minimal disclosure setting with the case in which all bids are public, and the case in which only the winner's bids are public. In these settings, an inefficient pooling equilibrium with low revenues always exists with a sufficiently large number of bidders.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 661465000000000128.

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Date of creation: 20 Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:661465000000000128

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  1. Michael Landsberger & Jacob Rubinstein & Elmar Wolfstetter & Shmuel Zamir, 1999. "First-Price Auctions when the Ranking of Valuations is Common Knowledge," Working Papers 99-18, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  2. Estelle Cantillon & Martin Pesendorfer, 2006. "Auctioning bus routes: the London experience," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9003, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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