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Creating competition out of thin air: An experimental study of right-to-choose auctions

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  • Eliaz, Kfir
  • Offerman, Theo
  • Schotter, Andrew

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Eliaz, Kfir & Offerman, Theo & Schotter, Andrew, 2008. "Creating competition out of thin air: An experimental study of right-to-choose auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 383-416, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:62:y:2008:i:2:p:383-416
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles R. Plott & John Wooders, 2004. "Bidders' Choice Auctions: Raising Revenues Through the Right to Choose," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 504-515, 04/05.
    2. Olivier Armantier & Nicolas Treich, 2006. "Overbidding in Independant Private-Values Auctions and Misperception of Probabilities," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-15, CIRANO.
    3. Ashenfelter, Orley & Genesove, David, 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in Real-Estate Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 501-505, May.
    4. Menezes, Flavio M & Monteiro, Paulo Klinger, 1998. "Simultaneous Pooled Auctions," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 219-232, November.
    5. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M., 1985. "Information and conspiracy in sealed bid auctions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 139-159, June.
    6. Roberto Burguet, 2005. "The condominium problem; auctions for substitutes," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 9(2), pages 73-90, April.
    7. Tibor Neugebauer & Reinhard Selten, 2002. "Individual Behavior of First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions: The Importance of Information Feedback in Experimental Markets," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse3_2003, University of Bonn, Germany.
    8. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-392, June.
    9. Goeree, Jacob K. & Offerman, Theo, 2003. "Winner's curse without overbidding," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 625-644, August.
    10. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie M. Marx, 2011. "The Economics of Contingent Re-auctions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, pages 165-193.
    2. Alevy, Jonathan E. & Cristi, Oscar & Melo, Oscar, 2010. "Right-to-Choose Auctions: A Field Study of Water Markets in the Limari Valley of Chile," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 39(2), April.
    3. Maarten C. W. Janssen & Vladimir A. Karamychev & Emiel Maasland, 2010. "Simultaneous Pooled Auctions with Multiple Bids and Preference Lists," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 286-298, June.
    4. Ulrike Malmendier & Young Han Lee, 2011. "The Bidder's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 749-787, April.
    5. Jonathan E. Alevy & Julianna Butler & Michael Price, 2016. "Multi-good Demand in Bidder's Choice Auctions: Experimental Evidence from the Lab and the Field," Working Papers 2016-01, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
    6. Anthony M. Kwasnica & Katerina Sherstyuk, 2013. "Multiunit Auctions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 461-490, July.
    7. Ronald M. Harstad, 2007. "Does a Seller Really Want Another Bidder?," Working Papers 0711, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

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