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Price Formation in a Sequential Selling Mechanism

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  • Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel
  • Sabine Kroger

Abstract

This paper analyzes the trade of an indivisible good within a two-stage mechanism, where a seller first negotiates with one potential buyer about the price of the good. If the negotiation fails to produce a sale, a second-price sealed-bid auction with an additional buyer is conducted. The theoretical model predicts that with risk neutral agents all sales take place in the auction rendering the negotiation prior to the auction obsolete. An experimental test of the model provides evidence that average prices and profits are quite precisely predicted by the theoretical benchmark. However, a significant large amount of sales occurs already during the negotiation stage. We show that risk preferences can theoretically account for the existence of sales during the negotiation stage, improve the fit for buyers' behavior, but is not sufficient to explain sellers' decisions. We discuss other behavioral explanations that could account for the observed deviations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0530.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0530

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Keywords: Auction; negotiation; combined mechanisms; sequential mechanism; risk preferences; experiment;

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References

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  1. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 247-272, May.
  2. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  3. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1993. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behaviour in First-, Second- and Third-Price Auctions with Varying Numbers of Bidders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(419), pages 868-79, July.
  4. Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Salmon, Tim, 2002. "Bidder preferences among auction institutions," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2002,86, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  5. Stanley Reynolds & John Wooders, 2009. "Auctions with a buy price," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 9-39, January.
  6. Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2002. "On the impact of low-balling: Experimental results in asymmetric auctions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 69-89.
  7. Thomas Palfrey, 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private Value Auctions," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000089, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Timothy Mathews & Brett Katzman, 2006. "The role of varying risk attitudes in an auction with a buyout option," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 597-613, 04.
  9. Chen, Kay-Yut & Plott, Charles R., 1998. "Nonlinear Behavior in Sealed Bid First Price Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 34-78, October.
  10. Timothy Mathews, 2004. "The Impact of Discounting on an Auction with a Buyout Option: a Theoretical Analysis Motivated by eBay’s Buy-It-Now Feature," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 25-52, 01.
  11. René Kirkegaard, 2006. "A short proof of the Bulow-Klemperer auctions vs. negotiations result," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 449-452, 06.
  12. Budish, Eric B. & Takeyama, Lisa N., 2001. "Buy prices in online auctions: irrationality on the internet?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 325-333, September.
  13. Guth, Werner & Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Wolfstetter, Elmar, 2005. "Bidding behavior in asymmetric auctions: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1891-1913, October.
  14. Anderson, Steve & Friedman, Daniel & Milam, Garrett & Singh, Nirvikar, 2004. "Seller Strategies on eBay," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt43z3965f, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  16. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  17. Hidvegi, Zoltan & Wang, Wenli & Whinston, Andrew B., 2006. "Buy-price English auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 31-56, July.
  18. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Risk averse behavior in generalized matching pennies games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kirkegaard, René & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2005. "Pre-Auction Offers in Asymmetric First-Price and Second-Price Auctions," Economics Working Papers 2005-17, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  2. Nicholas Shunda, 2007. "Auctions with a Buy Price: The Case of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Working papers 2007-42, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. Grebe, Tim & Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Kröger, Sabine, 2006. "How eBay Sellers set “Buy-it-now†prices - Bringing The Field Into the Lab," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 181, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

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