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Do auctions select efficient firms?

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

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.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 120 (2010)
Issue (Month): 549 (December)
Pages: 1319-1344

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:549:p:1319-1344
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  1. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 1996. "Strategic Nonparticipation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 84-98, Spring.
  2. 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 C74-C96, March.
  3. ehiel, Philippe & Benny Moldovanu & Ennio Stacchetti, 1994. "How (not) to sell nuclear weapons," Discussion Paper Serie B 288, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. Professor Paul Klemperer, 2000. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Microeconomics 0004008, EconWPA.
  5. 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.
  6. Klemperer, Paul, 2002. "How (Not) to Run Auctions: The European 3G Telecom Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3215, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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, 06.
  8. Janssen, Maarten C.W., 2006. "Auctions as coordination devices," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 517-532, April.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2003. "An economic perspective on auctions," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(36), pages 269-308, 04.
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