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Reserve prices in auctions as reference points

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  • Stephanie Rosenkranz

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  • 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. 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.
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  3. 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.
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  7. Bernard ELYAKIME & Jean-Jacques LAFFONT & Patrice LOISEL & Quang VUONG, 1994. "First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions with Secret Reservation Prices," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 34, pages 115-141.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Zheng, Charles Zhoucheng, 2002. "Optimal Auction with Resale," Staff General Research Papers 12664, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  14. Ingela Alger & Regis Renault, 2000. "Screening Ethics when Honest Agents Care about Fairness," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 489, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Nov 2004.
  15. 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.
  16. Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Rational irrationality: Some economics of self-management," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 633-655, May.
  17. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
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  20. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
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