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Naive Bidding


  • George Deltas

    () (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1206 South Sixth Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820,

  • Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans

    () (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1206 South Sixth Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820)


This paper presents an equilibrium explanation for the persistence of naive bidding. Specifically, we consider a common value auction in which a "naive" bidder (who ignores the winner's curse) competes against a fully rational bidder. We show that the naive bidder earns higher equilibrium profits than the rational bidder when the signal distribution is symmetric and unimodal. We then consider a sequence of such auctions with randomly selected participants from a population of naive and rational bidders, with the proportion of bidder types in the population evolving in response to their relative payoffs in the auctions. We show that the evolutionary equilibrium contains a strictly positive proportion of naive bidders. Finally, we consider more general examples in which a naive bidder matched against a rational bidder does (i) worse than his rational opponent, but (ii) better than a rational bidder matched against another rational bidder. Again, the evolutionary equilibrium contains a strictly positive proportion of naive bidders. The results suggest that overconfident recent entrants in Internet and other low transaction-cost auctions of items that appeal to a mass audience may earn higher payoffs than their experienced competitors and, thus, will not eventually be driven from the market.

Suggested Citation

  • George Deltas & Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans, 2005. "Naive Bidding," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 328-338, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:51:y:2005:i:3:p:328-338

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kyle, Albert S & Wang, F Albert, 1997. " Speculation Duopoly with Agreement to Disagree: Can Overconfidence Survive the Market Test?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 2073-2090, December.
    2. Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H & Boudreau, Bryan, 1987. "Information, Returns, and Bidding Behavior in OCS Auctions: 1954-1969," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 517-542, June.
    3. Cox, James C & Isaac, R Mark, 1984. "In Search of the Winner's Curse," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(4), pages 579-592, October.
    4. Walter J. Mead & Asbjorn Moseidjord & Philip E. Sorensen, 1983. "The Rate of Return Earned by Lessees under Cash Bonus Bidding for OCS Oil and Gas Leases," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 37-52.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fong, Yuk-fai & Garrett, Daniel F., 2010. "Bidding in a possibly common-value auction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 494-501, November.
    2. Axel Ockenfels & David Reiley & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2006. "Online Auctions," NBER Working Papers 12785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lorentziadis, Panos L., 2012. "Optimal bidding in auctions of mixed populations of bidders," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 217(3), pages 653-663.
    4. Lorentziadis, Panos L., 2016. "Optimal bidding in auctions from a game theory perspective," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 347-371.
    5. Fangcheng Tang & Weizhou Zhong & Shunfeng Song, 2006. "Tenders with Different Risk Preferences in Construction Industry," Working Papers 06-006, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.


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