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Ascending Auctions

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Abstract

A key question of auction design is whether to use an ascending- bid or a sealed-bid format. The critical distinction between formats is that an ascending auction provides the bidders with information through the process of bidding. This information is a two-edged sword. It may stimulate competition by creating a reliable process of price discovery, by reducing the winner's curse, and by allowing efficient aggregations of items. Alternatively, the information may be used by bidders to establish and enforce collusive outcomes. Ex ante asymmetries and weak competition favor a sealed-bid design. In other cases, an ascending auction is likely to perform better in efficiency and revenue terms. Moreover, information in an ascending auction can be tailored to limit collusion.

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File URL: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers1995-1999/98eer-ascending-auctions.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton in its series Papers of Peter Cramton with number 98eer.

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Length: 12 pages
Date of creation: 28 Jul 1998
Date of revision: 28 Jul 1998
Publication status: Published in European Economic Review, 42:3-5, May 1998, pages 745-756.
Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:98eer

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Postal: Economics Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7211
Phone: (202) 318-0520
Fax: (202) 318-0520
Web page: http://www.cramton.umd.edu

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Keywords: Auctions; Multiple-Item Auctions; Spectrum Auctions;

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References

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  1. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 413-38, July.
  2. Paul Klemperer & Jeremy Bulow, 1998. "Toeholds and Takeovers," Economics Series Working Papers 1998-W04, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
  4. Cramton, Peter C, 1995. "Money Out of Thin Air: The Nationwide Narrowband PCS Auction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 267-343, Summer.
  5. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, Joan G, 1985. "Auction Theory with Private Values," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 150-55, May.
  6. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1995. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpdr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 22 Jul 2002.
  7. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1997. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 497-527, 09.
  8. Wilson, Robert, 1979. "Auctions of Shares," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 675-89, November.
  9. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1997. "Auctioning Securities," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpas, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised Mar 1998.
  10. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-64.
  11. Klemperer, Paul, 1997. "Almost Common Value Auctions: The 'Wallet Game' and its Applications to Takeover Battles and Airwaves Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 1682, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Rothkopf, Michael H & Teisberg, Thomas J & Kahn, Edward P, 1990. "Why Are Vickrey Auctions Rare?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 94-109, February.
  13. 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.
  14. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  15. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  16. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 431-495, 09.
  17. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
  18. Ian Ayres & Peter Cramton, 1996. "Deficit Reduction Through Diversity: How Affirmative Action at the FCC Increased Auction Competition," Papers of Peter Cramton 96slr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
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