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Verifiable Offers and the Relationship Between Auctions and Multilateral Negotiations


  • Charles J. Thomas
  • Bart J. Wilson


We use the experimental method to compare second-price auctions with 'verifiable' multilateral negotiations in which the sole buyer can credibly reveal to sellers the best price offer he currently holds. Despite the two institutions' seeming equivalence, we find that prices are lower in verifiable multilateral negotiations than in second-price auctions. The difference occurs because low-cost sellers in negotiations often submit initial offers below the second-lowest cost. We also compare the two institutions to previously studied first-price auctions and multilateral negotiations with non-verifiable offers. Second-price auctions yield the highest prices, followed in order by verifiable negotiations, non-verifiable negotiations and first-price auctions. Copyright 2005 Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles J. Thomas & Bart J. Wilson, 2005. "Verifiable Offers and the Relationship Between Auctions and Multilateral Negotiations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1016-1031, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:115:y:2005:i:506:p:1016-1031

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Øivind Anti Nilsen & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2003. "Zeros and Lumps in Investment: Empirical Evidence on Irreversibilities and Nonconvexities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1021-1037, November.
    6. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1999. "Aggregate investment," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 813-862 Elsevier.
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    8. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1994. "Small Sample Bias and Adjustment Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 52-58, February.
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    1. repec:spr:grdene:v:21:y:2012:i:1:d:10.1007_s10726-009-9186-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gregory E. Kersten & Tomasz Wachowicz & Margaret Kersten, 2016. "Competition, Transparency, and Reciprocity: A Comparative Study of Auctions and Negotiations," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 693-722, July.
    3. Charles J. Thomas & Bart J. Wilson, 2014. "Horizontal Product Differentiation in Auctions and Multilateral Negotiations," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 81(324), pages 768-787, October.
    4. Charles J. Thomas, 2012. "An Alternating-Offers Model of Multilateral Negotiations," Working Papers 12-31, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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