IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Economic Insights from Internet Auctions


  • Patrick Bajari
  • Ali Hortaçsu


This paper surveys recent studies of internet auctions. Four main areas of research are summarized. First, we survey several studies that document and attempt to explain the frequently observed sniping, or last-second bidding behavior, in these auctions. Second, we summarize several methods proposed to quantify the distortions caused by asymmetric information in these markets, most notably due to the winner's curse. Third, we explore research about the role of reputation mechanisms installed to help combat these distortions. Finally, we discuss what internet auctions have to teach us about auction design.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortaçsu, 2004. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 457-486, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:42:y:2004:i:2:p:457-486 Note: DOI: 10.1257/0022051041409075

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Colin F. Camerer, 1998. "Can Asset Markets Be Manipulated? A Field Experiment with Racetrack Betting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 457-482, June.
    2. Hansen, Robert G, 1986. "Sealed-Bid versus Open Auctions: The Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(1), pages 125-142, January.
    3. Bernard Elyakime & Jean-Jacques Laffont & Patrice Loisel & Quang Vuong, 1994. "First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions with Secret Reservation Prices," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 34, pages 71-114.
    4. McAfee, R Preston & Quan, Daniel C & Vincent, Daniel R, 2002. "How to Set Minimum Acceptable Bids, with an Application to Real Estate Auctions," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 391-416, December.
    5. Krishna, Vijay, 2009. "Auction Theory," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780123745071.
    6. Jeffrey A. Livingston, 2005. "How Valuable Is a Good Reputation? A Sample Selection Model of Internet Auctions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 453-465, August.
    7. Bajari, Patrick & Hortacsu, Ali, 2003. " The Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices, and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 329-355, Summer.
    8. 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.
    9. Doug Bryan & David Lucking-Reiley & Naghi Prasad & Daniel Reeves, 2000. "Pennies from eBay: The Determinants of Price in Online Auctions," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0003, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    10. Baron David P., 2002. "Private Ordering on the Internet: The EBay Community of Traders," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 1-31, November.
    11. David Lucking-Reiley & Daniel F. Spulber, 2001. "Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 55-68, Winter.
    12. 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.
    13. Matthew Shum, 2000. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1598, Econometric Society.
    14. Harstad, Ronald M. & Kagel, John H. & Levin, Dan, 1990. "Equilibrium bid functions for auctions with an uncertain number of bidders," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 35-40, May.
    15. Holt, Charles A, Jr, 1980. "Competitive Bidding for Contracts under Alternative Auction Procedures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 433-445, June.
    16. Colin Camerer, 1998. "Can asset markets be manipulated? A field experiment with racetrack betting," Natural Field Experiments 00222, The Field Experiments Website.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:42:y:2004:i:2:p:457-486. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.