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Comparing Open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Evidence from Timber Auctions

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  • Susan Athey
  • Jonathan Levin
  • Enrique Seira

Abstract

We study entry and bidding patterns in sealed bid and open auctions with heterogeneous bidders. Using data from U.S. Forest Service timber auctions, we document a set of systematic effects of auction format: sealed bid auctions attract more small bidders, shift the allocation towards these bidders, and can also generate higher revenue. We show that a private value auction model with endogenous participation can account for these qualitative effects of auction format. We estimate the model's parameters and show that it can explain the quantitative effects as well. Finally, we use the model to provide an assessment of bidder competitiveness, which has important consequences for auction choice.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14590.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Publication status: published as Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin & Enrique Seira, 2011. "Comparing open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Evidence from Timber Auctions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 207-257.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14590

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  10. Marshall, R.C. & Richard J.F., 1995. "Bider Collusion at Forest Service Timber Sales," Papers 7-95-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  11. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin, 1999. "Information and Competition in U.S. Forest Service Timber Auctions," NBER Working Papers 7185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1996. "A Conditional Kolmogorov Test," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1111R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  16. Jonathan Levin & Susan Athey & Enrique Seira, 2004. "Comparing Open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Theory and Evidence from Timber Auctions," Working Papers 2004.142, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  17. Lance Brannman & Luke M. Froeb, 2000. "Mergers, Cartels, Set-Asides, and Bidding Preferences in Asymmetric Oral Auctions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 283-290, May.
  18. Philip A. Haile & Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values in First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1445, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  19. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortacsu, 2000. "Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1927, Econometric Society.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hongbin Cai & J. Vernon Henderson & Qinghua Zhang, 2013. "China's land market auctions: evidence of corruption?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(3), pages 488-521, 09.
  2. Vivek Bhattacharya & James W. Roberts & Andrew Sweeting, 2013. "Regulating Bidder Participation in Auctions," NBER Working Papers 19352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Marmer, Vadim & Shneyerov, Artyom & Xu, Pai, 2013. "What model for entry in first-price auctions? A nonparametric approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 176(1), pages 46-58.
  4. Jun Nakabayashi, 2009. "Small Business Set-asides in Procurement Auctions: An Empirical Analysis," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2009-005, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, revised Nov 2009.
  5. Matthew Gentry & Tong Li, 2012. "Identifcation in auctions with selective entry," CeMMAP working papers CWP38/12, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Elena Krasnokutskaya & Katja Seim, 2011. "Bid Preference Programs and Participation in Highway Procurement Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2653-86, October.
  7. Hill, Jonathan B. & Shneyerov, Artyom, 2013. "Are there common values in first-price auctions? A tail-index nonparametric test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 174(2), pages 144-164.
  8. Katzman, Brett & Reif, Julian & Schwartz, Jesse A., 2010. "The relation between variance and information rent in auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 127-130, March.
  9. Kaplan, Todd R & Zamir, Shmuel, 2014. "Advances in Auctions," MPRA Paper 54656, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Hanming Fang & Xun Tang, 2013. "Inference of Bidders’ Risk Attitudes in Ascending Auctions with Endogenous Entry," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-056, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Hu, Audrey & Offerman, Theo & Zou, Liang, 2011. "Premium auctions and risk preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2420-2439.
  12. Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2010. "Empirical Industrial Organization: A Progress Report," Discussion Papers 09-010, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  13. Farnia, Farnoush & Frayret, Jean-Marc & LeBel, Luc & Beaudry, Catherine, 2013. "Multiple-round timber auction design and simulation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 129-141.
  14. Kevin Yili Hong & Alex Chong Wang & Paul A. Pavlou, 2013. "How does Bid Visibility Matter in Buyer-Determined Auctions? Comparing Open and Sealed Bid Auctions in Online Labor Markets," Working Papers 13-05, NET Institute.

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