Synergies are a reason to prefer first-price auctions!
In this paper we show that in a private value setting first-price auctions can be preferred to second-price auctions. We consider a sequential auction of two objects with positive synergies and compare both auction formats. Although the second-price auction performs better in terms of efficiency and revenue, the first-price auction performs much better on a so far neglected dimension. Namely, the probability that the winner of the first object goes bankrupt is almost always higher when using the second-price rule. Our findings therefore support the common use of first-price auctions, most notably for procurement.
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