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Demand reduction in a multi-unit auctions with varying numbers of bidders: Theory and evidence from a field experiment

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  • Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans
  • John List
  • David Reiley

Abstract

Auction theory has recently revealed that multi-unit uniform-price auctions, such as those used by the U.S. Treasury for debt sales, entail demand-reduction incentives that can cause inefficient allocations. Recent experimental results show that bidders do indeed strategically reduce their bids in uniform-price auctions. The present paper extends this work, both theoretically and experimentally, to consider the effects of varying numbers of bidders. We derive several theoretical predictions, including the result that demand reduction should decrease with increasing numbers of bidders, though some demand reduction remains even in the asymptotic limit. We then examine the bidding behavior of subjects in this environment by auctioning dozens of Cal Ripken, Jr. baseball cards using both uniform-price and Vickrey auction formats. The field data are broadly consistent with the theoretical predictions of our model: most notably, demand reduction on second-unit bids becomes much smaller and harder to detect as the number of bidders increases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Framed Field Experiments with number 00147.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00147

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Web page: http://www.fieldexperiments.com

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References

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  1. John List & Jason Shogren, 1998. "Calibration of the difference between actual and hypothetical valuations in a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00296, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Christie, Andrew A., 1990. "Aggregation of test statistics : An evaluation of the evidence on contracting and size hypotheses," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1-3), pages 15-36, January.
  3. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
  4. Engelbrecht-Wiggans, Richard, 1999. "An example of multi-unit auctions with atypically many equilibria," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 67-69, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Levitt, Steven D. & List, John A., 2009. "Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-18, January.
  2. Porter, David & Rassenti, Stephen & Shobe, William & Smith, Vernon & Winn, Abel, 2009. "The design, testing and implementation of Virginia's NOx allowance auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 190-200, February.
  3. Maurice Doyon & Lota Dabio Tamini & Virginie Simard & Kent Messer & Harry M. Kaiser, 2006. "L’économie expérimentale pour l’analyse de modifications au système centralisé de vente du quota laitier au Québec," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-23, CIRANO.
  4. Dormady, Noah C., 2013. "Market power in cap-and-trade auctions: A Monte Carlo approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 788-797.
  5. Susan Athey & Philip A. Haile, 2002. "Identification of Standard Auction Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2107-2140, November.
  6. Rama Katkar & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "Public versus secret reserve prices in ebay auctions: Results from a pokemon field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00285, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Rama Katkar & David Lucking-Reiley, 2000. "Public Versus Secret Reserve Prices in eBay Auctions: Results of Pok�mon Field Experiment," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0026, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  8. Schnitzlein, Charles R. & Shao, Minjie, 2013. "Capacity constraints and the winner's curse in multi-unit common value auctions," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 188-201.
  9. Dirk Engelmann & Veronika Grimm, 2004. "Bidding Behavior In Multi-Unit Auctions - An Experimental Investigation And Some Theoretical Insights," Working Papers. Serie AD 2004-12, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  10. Axel Ockenfels & David Reiley & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2006. "Online Auctions," NBER Working Papers 12785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Raphaële Préget & Sophie Thoyer, 2009. "Multi-Unit Auctions and Competition Stricture," Working Papers 09-18, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2009.
  12. Ahlberg , Joakim, 2012. "Multi-unit common value auctions: a laboratory experiment with three sealed-bid mechanisms," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:23, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).

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