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Treasury auctions: what do the recent models and results tell us?


  • Saikat Nandi


Auctions, as selling mechanisms, have existed for well over two thousand years. Today, one of the most important auction markets in the world is that of U.S. Treasury securities; approximately $2 trillion worth of Treasury securities was auctioned in 1995. ; A long-standing debate has been about selecting an appropriate auction format for various Treasury securities, a format that would be least subject to possible manipulation by individual traders or a cartel and also result in the highest possible revenues for the Treasury. The Treasury is currently experimenting with what is called a uniform-price format for auctioning two- and five-year Treasury notes. A similar mechanism might be put into broader use. ; This article explains Treasury auctions in light of recent theoretical research and related empirical evidence. Empirically there seems to be no discernible difference between discriminatory and uniform-price auctions in terms of revenue to the Treasury. The author concludes that the proposal to switch to electronic ascending-price open-outcry auctions with an implied uniform price may be worthy of more consideration.

Suggested Citation

  • Saikat Nandi, 1997. "Treasury auctions: what do the recent models and results tell us?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 4, pages 4-15.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:1997:i:q4:p:4-15:n:v.82no.4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clifford W. Smith, 1992. "Economics And Ethics: The Case Of Salomon Brothers," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 5(2), pages 23-28.
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    8. Tenorio, Rafael, 1993. "Revenue Equivalence and Bidding Behavior in a Multi-unit Auction Market: An Empirical Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 302-314, May.
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    13. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
    14. Hugh Cohen & Douglas McBeth, 1994. "The effect of tick size on Treasury auctions," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 94-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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    1. Walter Orellana Rocha & Bernardo X. Fernández Tellería & Vladimir Fernández Quiroga, 2006. "Subasta electrónica interactiva y subasta a sobre cerrado: Un análisis comparativo de los resultados en Bolivia," Revista de Análisis del BCB, Banco Central de Bolivia, vol. 9(1), pages 65-113, December.
    2. Sara Castellanos, 2001. "Mexican treasury securities primary auctions," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000025, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Rodolfo Guerrero & José Luis Negrín, 2006. "Eficiencia del sistema bancario mexicano 1997-2004: una estimación dinámica," Monetaria, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(3), pages 235-259, julio-sep.
    4. Rocholl, Jörg, 2005. "Discriminatory auctions with seller discretion: evidence from German treasury auctions," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,15, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. Sara Castellanos, 2001. "A New Empirical Study of the Mexican Treasury Securities Primary Auctions: Is there more underpricing?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000206, David K. Levine.
    6. Paul Castillo & Carlos Montoro & Vicente Tuesta, 2006. "Estimación de la tasa natural de interés para la economía peruana," Monetaria, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(3), pages 261-298, julio-sep.

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    Auctions ; Financial markets ; Treasury notes;


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