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When Curiosity Kills the Profits: an Experimental Examination

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Author Info

  • Julian Jamison

    (University of California, Berkeley & San Francisco)

  • Dean S. Karlan

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

Economic theory predicts that in a first-price auction with equal and observable valuations, bidders earn zero profits. Theory also predicts that if valuations are not common knowledge, then since it is weakly dominated to bid your valuation, bidders will bid less and earn positive profits. Hence, rational players in an auction game should prefer less public information. We are perhaps more used to seeing these results in the equivalent Bertrand setting. In our experimental auction, we find that individuals without information on each other's valuations earn more profits than those with common knowledge. Then, given a choice between the two sets of rules, half the individuals still preferred to have the public information. We discuss possible explanations, including ambiguity aversion.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/exp/papers/0505/0505001.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0505001.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 05 May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0505001

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 22
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: First-price auctions; experiments; value of information; common knowledge; ambiguity aversion; Bertrand; public information;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Discussion Papers 447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Camerer, Colin & Weber, Martin, 1992. " Recent Developments in Modeling Preferences: Uncertainty and Ambiguity," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 325-70, October.
  4. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1991. "The Winner's Curse and Public Information in Common Value Auctions: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 362-69, March.
  5. Cameron, Lisa A, 1999. "Raising the Stakes in the Ultimatum Game: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 47-59, January.
  6. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  7. Ketcham, Jon & Smith, Vernon L & Williams, Arlington W, 1984. "A Comparison of Posted-Offer and Double-Auction Pricing Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 595-614, October.
  8. Blank, Rebecca M, 1991. "The Effects of Double-Blind versus Single-Blind Reviewing: Experimental Evidence from The American Economic Review," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1041-67, December.
  9. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-87, May.
  10. Yan Chen & Peter Katuscak & Emre Ozdenoren, 2005. "Sealed Bid Auctions with Ambiguity: An Experimental Study," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp269, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  11. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Jeremy Clark & Lana Friesen, 2006. "Overconfidence in Forecasts of Own Performance: An Experimental Study," Working Papers in Economics 06/09, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  2. Martin G. Kocher & Stefan T. Trautmann, 2010. "Selection into auctions for risky and ambiguous prospects," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 10-06, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  3. Brandts, Jordi & Yao, Lan, 2010. "Ambiguous Information and Market Entry: An Experimental Study," MPRA Paper 25276, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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