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Implementing efficient multi-object auction institutions: An experimental study of the performance of boundedly rational agents

  • Kagel, John H.
  • Levin, Dan

We study three alternative implementations of the Vickrey multi-unit demand auction: Vickrey's original static sealed-bid auction and two dynamic/Ausubel auctions, with and without public dropout information reported during the auction. Although implemented by a weaker solution concept, behavior in the dynamic Vickrey auction with the public dropout information comes significantly closer to the theoretical prediction of sincere bidding, bidding one's valuations, than either the static Vickrey auction or the dynamic auction without dropout information. This suggests a possible tradeoff between the simplicity and transparency of a mechanism and the strength of its solution concept when agents are still learning and/or when players are not fully rational. Drawing on results from related single-unit and multi-unit demand auctions, and the results of a new single-unit demand auction experiment, we provide important insights into the behavioral mechanism underlying the superior performance of the Ausubel auction with feedback information.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 66 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 221-237

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:66:y:2009:i:1:p:221-237
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  6. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 2001. "Behavior in Multi-unit Demand Auctions: Experiments with Uniform Price and Dynamic Vickrey Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 413-54, March.
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  13. Theodore Turocy & Elizabeth Watson & Raymond Battalio, 2007. "Framing the first-price auction," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 37-51, March.
  14. Manelli, Alejandro M. & Sefton, Martin & Wilner, Benjamin S., 2006. "Multi-unit auctions: A comparison of static and dynamic mechanisms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 304-323, October.
  15. R. Isaac & Duncan James, 2000. "Robustness of the Incentive Compatible Combinatorial Auction," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 31-53, June.
  16. Yan Chen & Fang-Fang Tang, 1998. "Learning and Incentive-Compatible Mechanisms for Public Goods Provision: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 633-662, June.
  17. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
  18. Lawrence M. Ausubel, 2004. "An Efficient Ascending-Bid Auction for Multiple Objects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1452-1475, December.
  19. Levin, Dan & Kagel, John H & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1996. "Revenue Effects and Information Processing in English Common Value Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 442-60, June.
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