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Multi-Object Auctions: Sequential vs. Simultaneous Sales

  • Donald B. Hausch

    (School of Business, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706)

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    Would a seller prefer to sell multiple objects through sequential or simultaneous auctions? Sequential auctions with bids announced between sales seem preferable because the bids may convey information about the value of objects to be sold later. The auction literature shows that this information effect increases the seller's expected revenue. However, there is also a deception effect which develops in the sequential sales. If a bidder knows that his current bid will reveal information about later objects then he has an incentive to underbid. These two opposing effects are studied in a two-signal model. The results show that either effect may dominate the other, leading the seller to sometimes prefer simultaneous sales and to sometimes prefer sequential sales. The winner's curse can explain this ordering.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.32.12.1599
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 32 (1986)
    Issue (Month): 12 (December)
    Pages: 1599-1610

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:32:y:1986:i:12:p:1599-1610
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