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Field experiments on the effects of reserve prices in auctions: more Magic on the Internet

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  • David H. Reiley

Abstract

I present experimental evidence on the effects of minimum bids in first-price, sealed-bid auctions. The auction experiments manipulated the minimum bids in a preexisting market on the Internet for collectible trading cards from the game Magic: the Gathering. I examine a number of outcomes, including the number of participating bidders, the probability of sale, the levels of individual bids, and the auctioneer's revenues. The benchmark theoretical model is one with symmetric, risk-neutral bidders with independent private values. The results verify a number of the predictions concerning equilibrium bidding. Many bidders behave strategically, anticipating the effects of the reserve price on others' bids.
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Suggested Citation

  • David H. Reiley, 2006. "Field experiments on the effects of reserve prices in auctions: more Magic on the Internet," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 195-211, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:1:p:195-211
    DOI: j.1756-2171.2006.tb00012.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1756-2171.2006.tb00012.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Hendricks & Harry J. Paarsch, 1995. "A Survey of Recent Empirical Work Concerning Auctions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 403-426, May.
    2. Paarsch, Harry J., 1997. "Deriving an estimate of the optimal reserve price: An application to British Columbian timber sales," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 333-357, June.
    3. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1996. "Optimal Reservation Prices in Auctions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1271-1283, September.
    4. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    5. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
    6. Samuelson, William F., 1985. "Competitive bidding with entry costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 53-57.
    7. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
    8. Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H, 1988. "An Empirical Study of an Auction with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 865-883, December.
    9. Lucking-Reiley, David, 2000. "Auctions on the Internet: What's Being Auctioned, and How?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 227-252, September.
    10. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using Field Experiments to Test Equivalence between Auction Formats: Magic on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1063-1080, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Boyer & B. Brorsen & Tong Zhang, 2014. "Common-value auction versus posted-price selling: an agent-based model approach," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 9(1), pages 129-149, April.
    2. Bolton, Gary E. & Ockenfels, Axel, 2014. "Does laboratory trading mirror behavior in real world markets? Fair bargaining and competitive bidding on eBay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 143-154.
    3. Drichoutis, Andreas C. & Lazaridis, Panagiotis & Nayga Jr., Rodolfo M., 2008. "The role of reference prices in experimental auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 446-448, June.
    4. Philippe Jehiel & Laurent Lamy, 2015. "On absolute auctions and secret reserve prices," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(2), pages 241-270, June.
    5. 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 - Economics Institute, Prague.
    6. Jeffrey Livingston, 2010. "The effect of id verification in online auctions: Evidence from a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00273, The Field Experiments Website.
    7. repec:bla:jindec:v:65:y:2017:i:3:p:597-622 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Liran Einav & Theresa Kuchler & Jonathan Levin & Neel Sundaresan, 2015. "Assessing Sale Strategies in Online Markets Using Matched Listings," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 215-247, May.
    9. Katkar Rama & Reiley David H, 2007. "Public versus Secret Reserve Prices in eBay Auctions: Results from a Pokémon Field Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-25, January.
    10. Song Yao & Carl F. Mela, 2008. "Online Auction Demand," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(5), pages 861-885, 09-10.
    11. Ian Ayres & Mahzarin Banaji & Christine Jolls, 2015. "Race effects on eBay," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(4), pages 891-917, October.
    12. Englmaier, Florian & Schmöller, Arno, 2010. "Determinants and Effects of Reserve Prices in Hattrick Auctions," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 326, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    13. Schmöller, Arno, 2010. "Bidding Behavior, Seller Strategies, and the Utilization of Information in Auctions for Complex Goods," Munich Dissertations in Economics 11175, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    14. repec:eee:indorg:v:56:y:2018:i:c:p:107-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:jouret:v:85:y:2009:i:2:p:211-221 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2006. "Summary of the Workshop to Support Implementing the Minimum 25 Percent Public Benefit Allocation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," Discussion Papers dp-06-45, Resources For the Future.
    17. repec:eee:jouret:v:88:y:2012:i:1:p:131-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Ernan Haruvy & Peter T. L. Popkowski Leszczyc, 2010. "Search and Choice in Online Consumer Auctions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(6), pages 1152-1164, 11-12.
    19. Syngjoo Choi & Lars Nesheim & Imran Rasul, 2016. "Reserve Price Effects In Auctions: Estimates From Multiple Regression-Discontinuity Designs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(1), pages 294-314, January.

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