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Lowest Unique Bid Auctions over the Internet: Ability, Lottery or Scam?

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  • Andrea Gallice

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Abstract

A lowest unique bid auction allocates a good to the agent who submits the lowest bid that is not matched by any other bid. This peculiar auction format is getting increasingly popular over the internet. We show that such a selling mechanism is unprofitable if bidders are rational but can become highly lucrative if bidders are myopic. In this second case, we analyze the key role played by the existence of some private signals that the seller sends to the bidders. Data about actual auctions confirm the profitability of the mechanism and the bounded rationality of the bidders.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena in its series Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena with number 0608.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:usi:depfid:0608

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Keywords: Lowest Unique Bid Auctions; Signals; Bounded Rationality.;

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  1. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Fatal Attraction: Salience, Naïveté, and Sophistication in Experimental "Hide-and-Seek" Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1731-1750, December.
  2. Rapoport, Amnon & Otsubo, Hironori & Kim, Bora & Stein, William E., 2007. "Unique bid auctions: Equilibrium solutions and experimental evidence," MPRA Paper 4185, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 17 Jul 2007.
  3. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-86, July.
  4. Robert Ostling & Joseph T Wang & Eileen Chou & Colin F Camerer, 2007. "Field and Lab Convergence in Poisson LUPI games," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001530, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, . "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  6. Raviv, Yaron & Virag, Gabor, 2009. "Gambling by auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 369-378, May.
  7. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
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