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Do auctions select efficient firms?

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  • Maarten C.W. Janssen
  • Vladimir A. Karamychev

Abstract

We consider a government auctioning off multiple licences to firms that compete in an aftermarket. Firms have different costs, and cost-efficiency is private information in the auction and in the aftermarket. If only one licence is auctioned, standard results say that the most efficient firm wins the auction as it has the highest valuation for the licence. We analyse conditions under which this result does and does not generalise to the case of auctioning multiple licences and aftermarket competition. Strategic interaction in the aftermarket is responsible for the fact that auctions may select inefficient firms. Copyright (C) The Author(s). Journal compilation (C) Royal Economic Society 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Maarten C.W. Janssen & Vladimir A. Karamychev, 2010. "Do auctions select efficient firms?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1319-1344, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:549:p:1319-1344
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heidrun C. Hoppe & Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2006. "License Auctions and Market Structure," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 371-396, June.
    2. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2003. "An economic perspective on auctions," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(36), pages 269-308, April.
    3. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1996. "How (Not) to Sell Nuclear Weapons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 814-829, September.
    4. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2002. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 74-96, March.
    5. Paul Klemperer, 2002. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 169-189, Winter.
    6. Janssen, Maarten C.W., 2006. "Auctions as coordination devices," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 517-532, April.
    7. Lawrence M. Ausubel, 2004. "An Efficient Ascending-Bid Auction for Multiple Objects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1452-1475, December.
    8. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    9. Klemperer, Paul, 2002. "How (not) to run auctions: The European 3G telecom auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 829-845, May.
    10. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 1996. "Strategic Nonparticipation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 84-98, Spring.
    11. Janssen, Maarten C.W. & Karamychev, Vladimir A., 2007. "Selection effects in auctions for monopoly rights," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 576-582, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Onur A. Koska, 2016. "A Consumer-Surplus Standard in Merger Approvals, Foreign Direct Investment, and Welfare," ERC Working Papers 1612, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Oct 2016.
    2. Gretschko, Vitali & Bichler, Martin & Janssen, Maarten, 2016. "Bargaining in Spectrum Auctions: A Review of the German Auction in 2015," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145809, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Onur A. Koska & Ilke Onur & Frank Stähler, 2015. "The Scope of Auctions in the Presence of Downstream Interactions and Information Externalities," CESifo Working Paper Series 5256, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Péter Eső & Volker Nocke & Lucy White, 2010. "Competition for scarce resources," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(3), pages 524-548.
    5. Janssen, Maarten & Karamychev, Vladimir, 2017. "Raising rivals’ cost in multi-unit auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 473-490.
    6. Maarten C. W. Janssen & Vladimir A. Karamychev & Emiel Maasland, 2010. "Simultaneous Pooled Auctions with Multiple Bids and Preference Lists," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 286-298, June.
    7. Janssen, Maarten & Karamychev, Vladimir, 2016. "Spiteful bidding and gaming in combinatorial clock auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 186-207.
    8. Rey, Patrick & Salant, David, 2017. "Allocating essential inputs," TSE Working Papers 17-820, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Feb 2018.
    9. Maarten Janssen & Vladimir Karamychev, 2013. "Gaming in Combinatorial Clock Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-027/VII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 16 Dec 2013.
    10. Maarten Janssen & Vladimir A. Karamychev & Emiel Maasland, 2009. "Auctions with Flexible Entry Fees," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-109/1, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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