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Sequencing strategies in large, competitive, ascending price automobile auctions: An experimental examination


  • Grether, David M.
  • Plott, Charles R.


This paper reports on a large-scale field experiment testing strategies available to a seller participating in simultaneous competitive sequential ascending price automobile auctions. Every other week, the seller offered approximately 100 vehicles for sale in an auction environment in which several competing sellers offered on the order of 3000 vehicles. The experiment tested various sequences in which the seller could offer the vehicles, such as high values first or low values first. Surprisingly, and contrary to intuition drawn from the theory of single item and single seller auctions, the worst performing sequence from those tested is for the seller to order vehicles from highest to lowest values. The best sequence is to group the vehicles by type and offer the low valued vehicles first and then move to offer the higher valued vehicles.

Suggested Citation

  • Grether, David M. & Plott, Charles R., 2009. "Sequencing strategies in large, competitive, ascending price automobile auctions: An experimental examination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 75-88, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:2:p:75-88

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Archishman Chakraborty & Nandini Gupta & Rick Harbaugh, 2006. "Best foot forward or best for last in a sequential auction?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 176-194, March.
    2. Gerard J. van den Berg & Jan C. van Ours & Menno P. Pradhan, 2001. "The Declining Price Anomaly in Dutch Dutch Rose Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1055-1062, September.
    3. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    4. Plott, Charles R. & Salmon, Timothy C., 2004. "The simultaneous, ascending auction: dynamics of price adjustment in experiments and in the UK3G spectrum auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 353-383, March.
    5. Raviv, Yaron, 2006. "New Evidence on Price Anomalies in Sequential Auctions: Used Cars in New Jersey," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 301-312, July.
    6. David Genesove, 1995. "Search at Wholesale Auto Auctions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 23-49.
    7. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521536721, March.
    8. Orley Ashenfelter & Kathryn Graddy, 2003. "Auctions and the Price of Art," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 763-787, September.
    9. Goeree, Jacob K. & Offerman, Theo & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Using first-price auctions to sell heterogeneous licenses," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 555-581, May.
    10. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Grether & David Porter & Matthew Shum, 2011. "Intimidation or Impatience? Jump Bidding in On-line Ascending Automobile Auctions," Working Papers 11-07, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Anthony M. Kwasnica & Katerina Sherstyuk, 2013. "Multiunit Auctions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 461-490, July.
    3. repec:eee:ejores:v:263:y:2017:i:3:p:922-934 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Verwer, S. & Zhang, Y., 2011. "Revenue Prediction in Budget-constrained Sequential Auctions with Complementarities," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2011-020-LIS, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    5. David Grether & David Porter & Matthew Shum, 2015. "Cyber-Shilling in Automobile Auctions: Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 85-103, August.


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