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The Origin of the Winner’s Curse: A Laboratory Study

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  • Gary Charness
  • Dan Levin

Abstract

The Winner's Curse (WC) is a robust and persistent deviation from theoretical predictions established in experimental economics and claimed to exist in field environments. Recent attempts to reconcile such deviation include "cursed equilibrium" and level-k reasoning. We design and implement a simplified version of the Acquiring-a-Company game that transformed the game to an individual-choice problem that still retains the adverse-selection problem. We further simplified the problem so that simple ordinal reasoning could replace both Bayesian updating and contingent thinking. Our results suggest that the WC reflects bounded rationality in that people have difficulties performing contingent reasoning on future events. (JEL D81, D82)

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 666156000000000602.

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Date of creation: 15 Mar 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:666156000000000602

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  1. Carroll, John S. & Bazerman, Max H. & Maury, Robin, 1988. "Negotiator cognitions: A descriptive approach to negotiators' understanding of their opponents," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 352-370, June.
  2. Erik Eyster & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "Cursed Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1623-1672, 09.
  3. Reinhard Selten & Klaus Abbink & Ricarda Cox, 2005. "Learning Direction Theory and the Winner’s Curse," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 5-20, April.
  4. James Cox & Sam Dinkin & James Swarthout, 2001. "Endogenous Entry and Exit in Common Value Auctions," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 163-181, October.
  5. Roll, Richard, 1986. "The Hubris Hypothesis of Corporate Takeovers," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 197-216, April.
  6. John H. Kagel & Colin M. Campbell & Dan Levin, 1999. "The Winner's Curse and Public Information in Common Value Auctions: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 325-334, March.
  7. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan & Harstad, Ronald M, 1995. "Comparative Static Effects of Number of Bidders and Public Information on Behavior in Second-Price Common Value Auctions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 293-319.
  8. Gneezy, Uri & Potters, Jan, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-45, May.
  9. Levin, Dan & Kagel, John H & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1996. "Revenue Effects and Information Processing in English Common Value Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 442-60, June.
  10. Dyer, D. & Kagel, J.H. & Levin, D., 1988. "A Comparison Of Naive And Experienced Bidders In Common Value Offer Auctions A Laboratory Analysis," Papers 11, Houston - Department of Economics.
  11. Holt, Charles A & Sherman, Roger, 1994. "The Loser's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 642-52, June.
  12. Brit Grosskopf & Yoella Bereby-Meyer & Max Bazerman, 2007. "On the Robustness of the Winner’s Curse Phenomenon," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(4), pages 389-418, December.
  13. Gary Charness & Dan Levin, 2005. "When Optimal Choices Feel Wrong: A Laboratory Study of Bayesian Updating, Complexity, and Affect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1300-1309, September.
  14. Rock, Kevin, 1986. "Why new issues are underpriced," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 187-212.
  15. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Ball, Sheryl B. & Bazerman, Max H. & Carroll, John S., 1991. "An evaluation of learning in the bilateral winner's curse," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 1-22, February.
  17. JEFFREY J. LElTZlNGER & JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ, 1984. "Information Externalities In Oil And Gas Leasing," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 2(5), pages 44-57, 03.
  18. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  19. Levis, Mario, 1990. "The Winner's Curse Problem, Interest Costs and the Underpricing of Initial Public Offerings," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 76-89, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Matros, Alexander, 2012. "Matching auction with winner’s curse and imperfect financial markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 500-503.
  2. Brünner, Tobias & Becker, Alice, 2013. "Bidding in common value fair division games," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79810, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann & Michal Ostatnicky, 2007. "Three Very Simple Games and What It Takes to Solve Them," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-092, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. Crawford, Vincent P. & Iriberri, Nagore, 2005. "Level-k Auctions: Can a Non-Equilibrium Model of Strategic Thinking Explain the Winner's Curse and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions?," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt12586197, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  5. John Morgan & Henrik Orzen & Martin Sefton, 2008. "Endogenous Entry in Contests," Discussion Papers 2008-08, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  6. John D. Burger & Stephen J.K. Walters, 2008. "The Existence and Persistence of a Winner's Curse: New Evidence from the (Baseball) Field," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 232-245, July.
  7. Ricardo Gonçalves & John D Hey, 2007. "Experimental Evidence on English Auctions: Oral Outcry vs. Clock," Discussion Papers 07/09, Department of Economics, University of York.

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