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Risk aversion and asymmetry in procurement auctions: Identification, estimation and application to construction procurements


  • Campo, Sandra


This article studies a model of asymmetric risk averse bidding within the independent private value paradigm. The inherent asymmetry in cost and risk aversion imposes an original restriction on the observed bid data, an exact equality which leads to the model semiparametric identification and estimation. The unobserved arguments of this equality need to be simulated in order to estimate the bidders’ Constant Relative Risk Aversion or Constant Absolute Risk Aversion parameters and their heterogeneous cost distributions. In the Los Angeles City Hall construction contracts offered between 1994 and 2003, the model and methodology help reveal that financial asymmetries affect the firms’ cost distribution, while experience influences their degree of risk aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Campo, Sandra, 2012. "Risk aversion and asymmetry in procurement auctions: Identification, estimation and application to construction procurements," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(1), pages 96-107.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:168:y:2012:i:1:p:96-107 DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2011.09.011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
    2. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 247-272, May.
    3. Zheng, Charles Z., 2001. "High Bids and Broke Winners," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 129-171, September.
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    5. Quang Vuong & Sandra Campo & Isabelle Perrigne, 2003. "Asymmetry in first-price auctions with affiliated private values," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 179-207.
    6. Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H, 1992. "Joint Bidding in Federal OCS Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 506-511, May.
    7. Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Martin Pesendorfer, 2003. "Estimation of a Dynamic Auction Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1443-1489, September.
    8. Porter, Robert H & Zona, J Douglas, 1993. "Detection of Bid Rigging in Procurement Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 518-538, June.
    9. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin, 2001. "Information and Competition in U.S. Forest Service Timber Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 375-417, April.
    10. Gallant, A. Ronald & Tauchen, George, 1996. "Which Moments to Match?," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 657-681, October.
    11. Athey, Susan & Haile, Philip A., 2007. "Nonparametric Approaches to Auctions," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 60 Elsevier.
    12. Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2002. "Increasing Competition and the Winner's Curse: Evidence from Procurement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 871-898.
    13. Susan Athey & Philip A. Haile, 2002. "Identification of Standard Auction Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2107-2140, November.
    14. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1985. "Experimental Development of Sealed-Bid Auction Theory: Calibrating Controls for Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 160-165, May.
    15. Yeon-Koo Che & Ian Gale, 1998. "Standard Auctions with Financially Constrained Bidders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-21.
    16. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-889, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jihui Chen & Maochao Xu, 2015. "Asymmetry and revenue in second-price auctions: a majorization approach," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 39(3), pages 625-640, July.
    2. Gentry, Matthew & Li, Tong & Lu, Jingfeng, 2015. "Existence of monotone equilibrium in first price auctions with private risk aversion and private initial wealth," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 214-221.
    3. Brisset, Karine & Cochard, François & Le Gallo, Julie, 2015. "Secret versus public reserve price in an “outcry” English procurement auction: Experimental results," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 285-298.
    4. Tong Li & Jingfeng Lu & Li Zhao, 2015. "Auctions with selective entry and risk averse bidders: theory and evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(3), pages 524-545, September.
    5. Lorentziadis, Panos L., 2016. "Optimal bidding in auctions from a game theory perspective," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 347-371.
    6. Lorentziadis, Panos L., 2014. "Bidding under auctioneer default risk," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 123-133.

    More about this item


    First-price auctions; Independent private values; Asymmetric risk aversion; Semiparametric identification and estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • L74 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Construction


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