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An "Alternating Recognition" Model of English Auctions

  • Ronald M. Harstad

    ()

    (Faculty of Management and RUTCOR, Rutgers University, 640 Bartholomew Road, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8003)

  • Michael H. Rothkopf

    ()

    (Faculty of Management and RUTCOR, Rutgers University, 640 Bartholomew Road, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8003)

We present an alternative abstraction of an English (oral ascending) auction to the standard, in Milgrom and Weber (1982), that accords more closely with practices in some auction markets. In particular, the assumptions that exits are irrevocable and necessarily public are dropped, making endogenous the decision to compete silently and privately, or openly. In the model, the price rises in a stylization of an auctioneer alternately recognizing two bidders who affirm willingness to pay the current price. The auctioneer pays attention to other bidders only when a recognized bidder exits. Such exits may be temporary, although we construct an equilibrium in which there is no benefit to exit and reentry. The number of public exits is stochastic; frequently a losing "bidder" will remain silent, giving no indication of his willingness to pay, and hence yielding no useful inference about his private information. Thus, the source of the expected revenue advantage of English auctions over second-price auctions is only stochastically available. Moreover, when public exits are incomplete, the ordinal rank of the bidder whose private information can be inferred is unknown, making that information less valuable. Consequently, the simpler formula for expected revenue in second-price auctions may be the preferred approximation for English auctions.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.46.1.1.15128
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 46 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-12

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:46:y:2000:i:1:p:1-12
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  1. Harstad, Ronald M., 1991. "Asymmetric bidding in second-price, common-value auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 249-252, March.
  2. Graham, Daniel A. & Marshall, Robert C. & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1990. "Phantom bidding against heterogeneous bidders," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 13-17, January.
  3. Harstad, Ronald M, 1990. "Alternative Common-Value Auction Procedures: Revenue Comparisons with Free Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 421-29, April.
  4. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Riley, John G., 1991. "Equilibria in open common value auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 101-130, February.
  5. Michael H. Rothkopf & Ronald M. Harstad, 1994. "Modeling Competitive Bidding: A Critical Essay," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(3), pages 364-384, March.
  6. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
  7. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  8. John G. Riley, 1988. "Ex Post Information in Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(3), pages 409-429.
  9. Michael H. Rothkopf, 1969. "A Model of Rational Competitive Bidding," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(7), pages 362-373, March.
  10. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  11. 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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