The Amsterdam Auction
AbstractAuctions used to sell houses often attract a diverse group of bidders, with realtors and speculators out for a bargain competing against buyers with a real interest in the house. Value asymmetries such as these necessitate careful consideration of the auction format as revenue equivalence cannot be expected to hold. From a theoretical viewpoint, Myerson's (1981) mechanism design approach has identified the seller's optimal choice. The proposed mechanism entails assigning credits to weaker bidders to promote competition and setting bidder-specific reserve prices. In practice, however, sellers often lack the detailed information needed to choose credits and reserve prices optimally, nor can they always discriminate among bidders. A more practical solution to the seller's problem is suggested by the "Amsterdam auction," where a premium is offered to encourage weak bidders to compete aggressively. This auction format, which has been used to sell houses in Amsterdam for centuries, treats all bidders the same and does not rely on detailed information about their value-distributions. In this paper, we consider premium auctions like the one in Amsterdam and demonstrate their revenue-generating virtues in asymmetric situations. We report the results of an experiment, which compares the standard first-price and English formats with two premium auctions in symmetric and asymmetric settings. The introduction of a premium leads weak bidders to set an endogenous reserve price for stronger rivals, with a dramatic effect on the sales price. Awarding a premium raises revenues, especially since Bertrand competition between weaker bidders virtually dissipates the premium to be paid.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0205002.
Date of creation: 15 May 2002
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://188.8.131.52
Auctions; experiments; asymmetries; premium;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Auctions
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- John H. Kagel & Dan Levin, 1999. "Common Value Auctions with Insider Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1219-1238, September.
- Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2002.
"On the impact of low-balling: Experimental results in asymmetric auctions,"
International Journal of Game Theory,
Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 69-89.
- Pezanis-Christou, P, 1997. "On the Impact of Low-Balling : Experimental Results in Asymmetric Auctions," Papers 97/05, New South Wales - School of Economics.
- Dufwenberg, M. & Gneezy, U., 1998.
"Price Competition and Market COncentration: An Experimental Study,"
1998-08, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
- Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Price competition and market concentration: an experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 7-22, January.
- Dufwenberg, M. & Gneezy, U., 1998. "Price competition and market concentration: An experimental study," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 1998-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 1999. "Price Competition and Market Concentration: An experimental Study," Research Papers in Economics 1999:4, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
- Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 1998. "Price Competition and Market Concentration: An Experimental Study," Working Paper Series 1998:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
- Corns, Allan & Schotter, Andrew, 1996.
"Can Affirmative Action be Cost-Effective? An Experimental Examination of Price-Preference Auctions,"
Working Papers, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University
96-02, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Andrew Schotter & Allan Corns, 1999. "Can Affirmative Action Be Cost Effective? An Experimental Examination of Price-Preference Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 291-305, March.
- Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1988. " Theory and Individual Behavior of First-Price Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 61-99, March.
- Paul Klemperer, 2000.
"What Really Matters in Auction Design,"
Economics Series Working Papers
2000-W26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 413-38, July.
- Abbink, Klaus & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1995. "RatImage - research Assistance Toolbox for Computer-Aided Human Behavior Experiments," Discussion Paper Serie B 325, University of Bonn, Germany.
- Paul Klemperer, 1997.
"Auctions with Almost Common Values: The Wallet Game and its Applications,"
Economics Series Working Papers
1998-W03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Klemperer, Paul, 1998. "Auctions with almost common values: The 'Wallet Game' and its applications," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 757-769, May.
- Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny, 2000.
"License Auctions and Market Structure,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2530, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Cantillon, Estelle, 2008.
"The effect of bidders' asymmetries on expected revenue in auctions,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-25, January.
- Estelle Cantillon, 2000. "The Effect of Bidders' Asymmetries on Expected Revenue in Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1279, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Estelle Cantillon, 2008. "The effect of bidders' asymmetries on expected revenue in auctions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9001, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
- R. Preston McAfee & Daniel Vincent, 1992.
"Updating the Reserve Price in Common Value Auctions,"
977, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- McAfee, R Preston & Vincent, Daniel, 1992. "Updating the Reserve Price in Common-Value Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 512-18, May.
- Alexander Matros & Daniel Armanios, 2007.
"Tullock's Contest with Reimbursements,"
328, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2008.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.