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Reserve prices in auctions as reference points

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  • Stephanie Rosenkranz

    ()

  • Patrick W. Schmit

    ()

Abstract

We consider second-price and first-price auctions in the symmetric independent private values framework. We modify the standard model by the assumption that the bidders have reference-based utility, where the reserve price (minimum bid) plays the role of the reference point. In contrast to the usual result, the seller's optimal reserve price is increasing in the number of bidders. Even if an individual bidder perceives only a very small utility loss when he has to pay more than the reserve price, the impact on the optimal reserve price can be strong when there are many bidders..

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05-14.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0514

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Keywords: Auction theory; reference-dependent utility; reserve prices;

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  1. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  2. Vincent Daniel R., 1995. "Bidding Off the Wall: Why Reserve Prices May Be Kept Secret," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 575-584, April.
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  5. Horstmann, Ignatius J & LaCasse, Chantale, 1997. "Secret Reserve Prices in a Bidding Model with a Resale Option," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 663-84, September.
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  12. Charles Zhoucheng Zheng, 2002. "Optimal Auction with Resale," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2197-2224, November.
  13. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  14. Kamins, Michael A & Dreze, Xavier & Folkes, Valerie S, 2004. " Effects of Seller-Supplied Prices on Buyers' Product Evaluations: Reference Prices in an Internet Auction Context," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 622-28, March.
  15. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Mailath, George J. & Zemsky, Peter, 1991. "Collusion in second price auctions with heterogeneous bidders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 467-486, November.
  17. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-92, June.
  18. Elyakime, Bernard & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Loisel, Patrice & Vuong, Quang, 1993. "First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions with Secret Reservation Prices," IDEI Working Papers 27, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  19. Graham, Daniel A & Marshall, Robert C, 1987. "Collusive Bidder Behavior at Single-Object Second-Price and English Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1217-39, December.
  20. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  21. Steven A. Matthews, 1995. "A Technical Primer on Auction Theory I: Independent Private Values," Discussion Papers 1096, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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