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Price formation in a sequential selling mechanism

  • Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta
  • Kröger, Sabine

This paper analyzes the trade of an indivisible good within a two-stage mechanism, where a seller first negotiates with one potential buyer about the price of the good. If the negotiation fails to produce a sale, a second–price sealed–bid auction with an additional buyer is conducted. The theoretical model predicts that with risk neutral agents all sales take place in the auction rendering the negotiation prior to the auction obsolete. An experimental test of the model provides evidence that average prices and profits are quite precisely predicted by the theoretical benchmark. However, a significant large amount of sales occurs already during the negotiation stage. We show that risk preferences can theoretically account for the existence of sales during the negotiation stage, improve the fit for buyers’ behavior, but is not sufficient to explain sellers’ decisions. We discuss other behavioral explanations that could account for the observed deviations.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 67 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (September)
Pages: 832-843

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:67:y:2008:i:3-4:p:832-843
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Güth, Werner & Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Wolfstetter, Elmar, 2001. "Bidding behavior in asymmetric auctions: An experimental study," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,15, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  2. Budish, Eric B. & Takeyama, Lisa N., 2001. "Buy prices in online auctions: irrationality on the internet?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 325-333, September.
  3. Stanley Reynolds & John Wooders, 2009. "Auctions with a buy price," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 9-39, January.
  4. Chen, Kay-Yut & Plott, Charles R., . "Nonlinear Behavior in Sealed Bid First Price Auctions," Working Papers 774, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Steven Anderson & Daniel Friedman & Garrett Milam & Nirvikar Singh, 2004. "Seller Strategies on eBay," Industrial Organization 0412004, EconWPA.
  6. Kagel, J.H. & Levin, D., 1988. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behavior In First, Second And Third-Price Auctions With Varying Numbers Of Bidders," Papers 13, Houston - Department of Economics.
  7. Timothy Mathews, 2004. "The Impact of Discounting on an Auction with a Buyout Option: a Theoretical Analysis Motivated by eBay’s Buy-It-Now Feature," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 25-52, 01.
  8. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2000. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions," Virginia Economics Online Papers 345, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  9. Thomas Palfrey, 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private Value Auctions," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000089, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. René Kirkegaard, 2006. "A short proof of the Bulow-Klemperer auctions vs. negotiations result," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 449-452, 06.
  11. Hidvegi, Zoltan & Wang, Wenli & Whinston, Andrew B., 2006. "Buy-price English auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 31-56, July.
  12. Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel & Timothy C. Salmon, 2004. "Bidder Preferences Among Auction Institutions," Experimental 0404005, EconWPA.
  13. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  14. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  15. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Risk averse behavior in generalized matching pennies games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, October.
  16. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  17. Pezanis-Christou, P, 1997. "On the Impact of Low-Balling : Experimental Results in Asymmetric Auctions," Papers 97/05, New South Wales - School of Economics.
  18. Timothy Mathews & Brett Katzman, 2006. "The role of varying risk attitudes in an auction with a buyout option," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 597-613, 04.
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