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

  • David H. Reiley

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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Article provided by RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 195-211

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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:1:p:195-211
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  1. 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.
  2. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
  3. 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.
  4. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1996. "Optimal Reservation Prices in Auctions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1271-83, September.
  5. 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 403-26, May.
  6. 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 865-83, December.
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  8. Lucking-Reiley, David, 2000. "Auctions on the Internet: What's Being Auctioned, and How?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 227-52, September.
  9. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
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