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Risk aversion and optimal reserve prices in first- and second-price auctions

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  • Hu, Audrey
  • Matthews, Steven A.
  • Zou, Liang

Abstract

We analyze the effects of buyer and seller risk aversion in first- and second-price auctions in the classic setting of symmetric and independent private values. We show that the seller's optimal reserve price decreases in his own risk aversion, and more so in the first-price auction. The reserve price also decreases in the buyers' risk aversion in the first-price auction. Thus, greater risk aversion increases ex post efficiency in both auctions - especially that of the first-price auction. At the interim stage, the first-price auction is preferred by all buyer types in a lower interval, as well as by the seller.

Suggested Citation

  • Hu, Audrey & Matthews, Steven A. & Zou, Liang, 2010. "Risk aversion and optimal reserve prices in first- and second-price auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1188-1202, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:145:y:2010:i:3:p:1188-1202
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Keith Waehrer & Ronald M. Harstad & Michael H. Rothkopf, 1998. "Auction Form Preferences of Risk-Averse Bid Takers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 179-192, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Moreno, Diego & Wooders, John, 2017. "Reserve prices in auctions with entry when the seller is risk-averse," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 6-9.
    2. Audrey Hu & Liang Zou, 2014. "Sequential Auctions, Price Trends, and Risk Preferences," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-139/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Federico Zincenko, 2016. "Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions with Risk-Averse Bidders," Working Paper 5855, Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh.
    4. Baisa, Brian, 2017. "Auction design without quasilinear preferences," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(1), January.
    5. Matthews, Steven, 1987. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Point of View," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 633-646, May.
    6. Hu, Audrey & Zou, Liang, 2015. "Sequential auctions, price trends, and risk preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PA), pages 319-335.
    7. Simon Loertscher & Andras Niedermayer, 2012. "Fee-Setting Mechanisms: On Optimal Pricing by Intermediaries and Indirect Taxation," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1162, The University of Melbourne.
    8. Brunner, Christoph & Hu, Audrey & Oechssler, Jörg, 2014. "Premium auctions and risk preferences: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 467-484.
    9. Bettina Klose & Paul Schweinzer, 2012. "Auctioning risk: The all-pay auction under mean-variance preferences," Discussion Papers 12/32, Department of Economics, University of York.
    10. Hu, Audrey, 2011. "How bidder's number affects optimal reserve price in first-price auctions under risk aversion," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 29-31, October.
    11. Audrey Hu & Theo Offerman & Liang Zou, 2014. "How Risk Sharing may enhance Efficiency in English Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-015/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Nathalie Gimenes, 2014. "Econometrics of Ascending Auctions by Quantile Regression," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2014_25, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    13. Hu, Audrey & Offerman, Theo & Zou, Liang, 2011. "Premium auctions and risk preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2420-2439.
    14. Ehud Kalai & Dov Samet, 1986. "Are Bayesian-Nash Incentives and Implementations Perfect?," Discussion Papers 680, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    15. repec:the:publsh:1824 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Kim, Dong-Hyuk, 2015. "Nonparametric estimation of utility function in first-price sealed-bid auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 101-106.
    17. Eric Maskin & John G. Riley, 1981. "The Gains to Making Losers Pay in High Bid Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 198, UCLA Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    First-price auction Second-price auction Risk aversion Reserve price;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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