Creating competition out of thin air: An experimental study of right-to-choose auctions
This paper presents an experimental study of a mechanism that is commonly used to sell multiple heterogeneous goods. The novel feature of this procedure is that instead of selling each good in a separate auction, the seller executes a single auction in which buyers, who may be interested in completely different goods, compete for the right to choose a good. We provide experimental evidence that a Right-to-Choose (RTC) auction can generate more revenue than the theoretically optimal auction. Moreover, in contrast to the "optimal" auction, the RTC auction is approximately efficient in the sense that the surplus it generates is close to the maximal one. Furthermore, a seller who would like to retain some of his goods can generate more revenue with a restricted RTC auction in which not all rights-to-choose are sold, than with the theoretically optimal auction.
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