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Sequential auctions, price trends, and risk preferences

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  • Hu, Audrey
  • Zou, Liang

Abstract

We analyze sequential auctions in a general environment where bidders are heterogeneous in risk exposures and exhibit non-quasilinear utilities. We derive a pure strategy symmetric equilibrium for the sequential Dutch and Vickrey auctions respectively, with an arbitrary number of identical objects for sale. When bidders are risk averse (preferring), the equilibrium price sequences must be downward (upward) drifting. The “declining price anomaly” is thus evidence of bidder risk aversion in this general environment. These results derive from a key assumption that bidders' marginal utilities are log-supermodular in payment and type.

Suggested Citation

  • Hu, Audrey & Zou, Liang, 2015. "Sequential auctions, price trends, and risk preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PA), pages 319-335.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:158:y:2015:i:pa:p:319-335
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2015.05.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ashenfelter, Orley & Genesove, David, 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in Real-Estate Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 501-505, May.
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    3. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2003. "Uniqueness of equilibrium in sealed high-bid auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 395-409, November.
    4. Audrey Hu & Steven A. Matthews & Liang Zou, 2009. "Risk Aversion and Optimal Reserve Prices in First and Second-Price Auctions, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-001, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 03 Jan 2010.
    5. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
    6. 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.
    7. McAfee R. Preston & Vincent Daniel, 1993. "The Declining Price Anomaly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-212, June.
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    9. Mezzetti, Claudio & Pekec, Aleksandar Sasa & Tsetlin, Ilia, 2008. "Sequential vs. single-round uniform-price auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 591-609, March.
    10. Susan Athey, 2002. "Monotone Comparative Statics under Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 187-223.
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    13. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-889, July.
    14. Audrey Hu & Steven A. Matthews & Liang Zou, 2015. "English Auctions with Ensuing Risks and Heterogeneous Bidders," PIER Working Paper Archive 15-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    15. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Audrey Hu & Liang Zou, 2016. "Sequential Auctions with Generalized Interdependent Values," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-016/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Ochieng, Dennis O. & Veettil, Prakashan C. & Qaim, Matin, 2017. "Farmers’ preferences for supermarket contracts in Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 100-111.
    3. John Wooders & Matt Van Essen, 2018. "Dual Auctions for Assigning Winners and Compensating Losers," Working Papers 20180013, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised Jan 2018.
    4. Van Essen, Matt & Wooders, John, 2016. "Dissolving a partnership dynamically," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 212-241.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sequential auction; Background risk; Risk preference; Declining price; Log-supermodularity; Ex-post efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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