Information acquisition and/or bid preparation: A structural analysis of entry and bidding in timber sale auctions
Recently, several auction models with entry have been proposed: in one model (Levin and Smith, 1994; Li and Zheng, 2009), bidders are assumed to draw their private values after they decide to enter. In another model (Samuelson, 1985; Li and Zheng, 2009), bidders are assumed to learn their values before their entry decisions are made. The entry cost in the latter model can be interpreted as bid preparation cost, while the entry cost in the former model consists of both costs from information acquisition and bid preparation. Moreover, these two models have different implications for important policies, e.g., the optimal reserve price. In this paper we provide a unified structural framework where the two models can be estimated and distinguished using the Bayesian method. We apply our method to analyze Michigan timber sale auctions.
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