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Endogenous Competition Alters the Structure of Optimal Auctions

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  • Ronald M Harstad

Abstract

Potential bidders respond to a sellerfs choice of auction mechanism for a common-value or affiliated-values asset by endogenous decisions whether to incur an information-acquisition cost (and observe a private estimate), or forgo competing. Privately informed participants decide whether to incur a bid-preparation cost and pay an entry fee, or cease competing. Auction rules and information flows are quite general; participation decisions may be simultaneous or sequential. The resulting revenue identity for any auction mechanism implies that optimal auctions are allocatively efficient; a nontrivial reserve price is revenue-inferior. Optimal auctions are otherwise contentless: any auction that sells without reserve becomes optimal by adjusting any one of the continuous, spanning parameters, e.g., the entry fee. Sellerfs surplus-extracting tools are now substitutes, not complements. Many econometric studies of auction markets are seen to be flawed in their identification of the number of bidders.

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Paper provided by Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University in its series ISER Discussion Paper with number 0816.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0816

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  1. 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.
  2. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Reny, Philip J, 1989. "Extracting the Surplus in the Common-Value Auction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1451-59, November.
  3. 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.
  4. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  5. Vlad Mares & Ronald Harstad, 2007. "Ex-post full surplus extraction, straightforwardly," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 399-410, August.
  6. Rothkopf, Michael H & Harstad, Ronald M, 1995. "Two Models of Bid-Taker Cheating in Vickrey Auctions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(2), pages 257-67, April.
  7. Harstad, Ronald M. & Kagel, John H. & Levin, Dan, 1990. "Equilibrium bid functions for auctions with an uncertain number of bidders," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 35-40, May.
  8. Jacques Crémer & Yossi Spiegel & Charles Zheng, 2009. "Auctions with costly information acquisition," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 41-72, January.
  9. Chakraborty, Indranil & Kosmopoulou, Georgia, 2001. "Auctions with endogenous entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 195-200, August.
  10. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with a stochastic number of bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Levin, Dan & Harstad, Ronald M., 1986. "Symmetric bidding in second-price, common-value auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 315-319.
  13. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
  14. Ronald M. Harstad, 2007. "Does a Seller Really Want Another Bidder?," Working Papers 0711, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  15. Mares, Vlad & Harstad, Ronald M., 2003. "Private information revelation in common-value auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 264-282, April.
  16. Harstad, Ronald M. & Michael H. Rothkopf, 1995. "An "Alternating Recognition" Model of English Auctions," Discussion Paper Serie B 348, University of Bonn, Germany.
  17. Harstad, Ronald M, 1990. "Alternative Common-Value Auction Procedures: Revenue Comparisons with Free Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 421-29, April.
  18. French, Kenneth R & McCormick, Robert E, 1984. "Sealed Bids, Sunk Costs, and the Process of Competition," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 417-41, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Ronald M. Harstad, 2009. "Does a Seller Really Want Another Bidder?," Working Papers 0909, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

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