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Auctions of Homogeneous Goods with Increasing Returns: Experimental Comparison of Alternative "Dutch" Auctions

Author

Listed:
  • Elena Katok

    () (Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802)

  • Alvin E. Roth

    () (Department of Economics, Harvard University, and Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts 02163)

Abstract

Most business-to-business (B2B) auctions are used to transact large quantities of homogeneous goods, and therefore use multiunit mechanisms. In the B2B context, bidders often have increasing returns to scale, or synergies. We compare two commonly used auction formats for selling multiple homogeneous objects, both sometimes called "Dutch" auctions, in a set of value environments that include synergies and potentially subject bidders to the "exposure" and "free-riding" problems. We find that the descending-price auction, best known for its use in the Dutch flower auctions, is robust and performs well in a variety of environments, although there are some situations in which the ascending uniform-price auction similar to the one used by eBay better avoids the free-riding problem. We discuss the factors that influence each mechanism's performance in terms of the overall efficiency, the informational requirements, the seller's revenue, and the buyer's profit.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Katok & Alvin E. Roth, 2004. "Auctions of Homogeneous Goods with Increasing Returns: Experimental Comparison of Alternative "Dutch" Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(8), pages 1044-1063, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:50:y:2004:i:8:p:1044-1063
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1040.0254
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elmaghraby, Wedad J. & Larson, Nathan, 2012. "Explaining deviations from equilibrium in auctions with avoidable fixed costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 131-159.
    2. Aradhna Krishna & M. Utku Ünver, 2008. "Research Note—Improving the Efficiency of Course Bidding at Business Schools: Field and Laboratory Studies," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(2), pages 262-282, 03-04.
    3. Kan Takeuchi & John Lin & Yan Chen & Thomas Finholt, 2010. "Scheduling with package auctions," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(4), pages 476-499, December.
    4. Chen, Yan & Takeuchi, Kan, 2010. "Multi-object auctions with package bidding: An experimental comparison of Vickrey and iBEA," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 557-579, March.
    5. Kagel, John H. & Levin, Dan, 2005. "Multi-unit demand auctions with synergies: behavior in sealed-bid versus ascending-bid uniform-price auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 170-207, November.
    6. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2007. "If Winning isn't Everything, why do they keep Score? A Structural Empirical Analysis of Dutch Flower Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-041/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Larson, Nathan & Elmaghraby, Wedad, 2008. "Procurement auctions with avoidable fixed costs: an experimental approach," MPRA Paper 32163, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2011.
    8. Hikmet Gunay & Xin Meng, 2012. "Exposure Problem in Multi-unit Auctions," ISER Discussion Paper 0848, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    9. Philippe Février & Laurent Linnemer & Michael Visser, 2007. "Buy or wait, that is the option: the buyer's option in sequential laboratory auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 98-118, March.
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    11. Axel Ockenfels & David Reiley & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2006. "Online Auctions," NBER Working Papers 12785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Anouar El Haji & Sander Onderstal, 2015. "Trading Places: An Experimental Comparison of Reallocation Mechanisms for Priority Queuing," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-063/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    13. Kassas, Bachir & Palma, Marco A. & Zhang, Yvette, 2016. "The role of incentives on preference revelations in auctions versus rankings," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 73-85.
    14. Ausubel Lawrence M & Milgrom Paul R, 2002. "Ascending Auctions with Package Bidding," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-44, August.
    15. repec:eee:indorg:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:165-187 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Wedad Elmaghraby, 2005. "The Effect of Asymmetric Bidder Size on an Auction's Performance: Are More Bidders Always Better?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(12), pages 1763-1776, December.
    17. Kleijnen, Jack P.C. & van Schaik, Frans D.J., 2011. "Sealed-bid auction of Netherlands mussels: Statistical analysis," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 154-161, July.
    18. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & Elena Katok, 2006. "E-sourcing in Procurement: Theory and Behavior in Reverse Auctions with Noncompetitive Contracts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(4), pages 581-596, April.
    19. Philippe Gillen & Alexander Rasch & Achim Wambach & Peter Werner, 2016. "Bid pooling in reverse multi-unit Dutch auctions: an experimental investigation," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 81(4), pages 511-534, November.
    20. Marcelo Olivares & Gabriel Y. Weintraub & Rafael Epstein & Daniel Yung, 2012. "Combinatorial Auctions for Procurement: An Empirical Study of the Chilean School Meals Auction," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(8), pages 1458-1481, August.
    21. Li, Zhen & Kuo, Ching-Chung, 2011. "Revenue-maximizing Dutch auctions with discrete bid levels," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 215(3), pages 721-729, December.
    22. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2004:i:8:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Cong, Rong-Gang & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2012. "Experimental comparison of impact of auction format on carbon allowance market," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 4148-4156.

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