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Inference of Bidders’ Risk Attitudes in Ascending Auctions with Endogenous Entry

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  • Hanming Fang
  • Xun Tang

Abstract

Bidders' risk attitudes have key implications for choices of revenue-maximizing auction formats. In ascending auctions, bid distributions do not provide information about risk preference. We infer risk attitudes using distributions of transaction prices and participation decisions in ascending auctions with entry costs. Nonparametric tests are proposed for two distinct scenarios: first, the expected entry cost can be consistently estimated from data; second, the data does not report entry costs but contains exogenous variations of potential competition and auction characteristics. In the first scenario, we exploit the fact that the risk premium required for entry – the difference between ex ante expected profits from entry and the certainty equivalent – is strictly positive if and only if bidders are risk averse. Our test is based on identification of bidders' ex ante profits. In the second scenario, our test builds on the fact that risk attitudes affect how equilibrium entry probabilities vary with observed auction characteristics and potential competition. We also show identification of risk attitudes in a more general model of ascending auctions with selective entry, where bidders receive entry-stage signals that are correlated with private values.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19435.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19435

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  1. Marmer, Vadim & Shneyerov, Artyom & Xu, Pai, 2007. "What Model for Entry in First-Price Auctions? A Nonparametric Approach," Microeconomics.ca working papers marmer-07-11-22-02-26-44, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 18 Feb 2011.
  2. Smith, James L. & Levin, Dan, 1996. "Ranking Auctions with Risk Averse Bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 549-561, February.
  3. Jingfeng Lu & Isabelle Perrigne, 2008. "Estimating risk aversion from ascending and sealed-bid auctions: the case of timber auction data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(7), pages 871-896.
  4. James W. Roberts & Andrew Sweeting, 2010. "Bailouts and the Preservation of Competition," NBER Working Papers 16650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ye, Lixin, 2007. "Indicative bidding and a theory of two-stage auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 181-207, January.
  6. Andrés Aradillas‐López & Amit Gandhi & Daniel Quint, 2013. "Identification and Inference in Ascending Auctions With Correlated Private Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(2), pages 489-534, 03.
  7. Matthews, Steven, 1987. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Point of View," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 633-46, May.
  8. 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.
  9. Jun, Sung Jae & Pinkse, Joris & Wan, Yuanyuan, 2010. "A consistent nonparametric test of affiliation in auction models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 159(1), pages 46-54, November.
  10. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  11. Armstrong, Mark & Porter, Robert, 2007. "Preface to the Handbook of Industrial Organization, Volume 3," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
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