IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

On the pricing rule in electronic auctions


  • Hickman, Brent


Researchers and experts have typically viewed electronic auctions (such as those implemented by eBay, Amazon, and Yahoo!) as either oral, ascending-price (English) auctions or second-price, sealed-bid (Vickrey) auctions. I show that important theoretical differences exist between English and Vickrey pricing rules and those used in electronic auctions, due to the presence of bid increments. I also show, using data on eBay laptop sales, that these differences have practical significance. I explore the implications of bid increments for strategic bid selection in a static model within the symmetric independent private-value paradigm. I derive the unique symmetric equilibrium bid function, showing that the presence of bid increments can significantly alter bidder behavior. Using numerical methods, I also illustrate that these result in a highly non-linear bid function, in contrast to that predicted under either the English or the Vickrey formats.

Suggested Citation

  • Hickman, Brent, 2010. "On the pricing rule in electronic auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 423-433, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:28:y:2010:i:5:p:423-433

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew O. Jackson & Jeroen M. Swinkels, 2005. "Existence of Equilibrium in Single and Double Private Value Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 93-139, January.
    2. Lizzeri, Alessandro & Persico, Nicola, 2000. "Uniqueness and Existence of Equilibrium in Auctions with a Reserve Price," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 83-114, January.
    3. Matthew O. Jackson & Leo K. Simon & Jeroen M. Swinkels & William R. Zame, 2002. "Communication and Equilibrium in Discontinuous Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1711-1740, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Kebing, 2012. "Procurement strategies and coordination mechanism of the supply chain with one manufacturer and multiple suppliers," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 125-135.
    2. Bernard Lebrun, 2015. "Revenue-superior variants of the second-price auction," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 59(2), pages 245-275, June.
    3. repec:eee:indorg:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:65-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Philippe Jehiel & Laurent Lamy, 2011. "Absolute auctions and secret reserve prices: Why are they used?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000316, David K. Levine.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:28:y:2010:i:5:p:423-433. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.