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Temporary and Permanent Buyout Prices in Online Auctions


  • Jérémie Gallien

    () (Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 50 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142)

  • Shobhit Gupta

    () (Operations Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139)


Buyout options allow bidders to instantly purchase at a specified price an item listed for sale through an online auction. A temporary buyout option disappears once a regular bid is submitted, whereas a permanent option remains available until it is exercised or the auction ends. Such buyout price may be static and remain constant throughout the auction, or dynamic and vary as the auction progresses. We formulate a game-theoretic model featuring time-sensitive bidders with independent private values and Poisson arrivals but endogenous bidding times to answer the following questions: How should a seller set the buyout price (if at all)? What are the implications of using a temporary buyout option relative to a permanent one? What is the potential benefit associated with using a dynamic buyout price? For all buyout option types we exhibit a Nash equilibrium in bidder strategies, argue that this equilibrium constitutes a plausible outcome prediction, and study the problem of maximizing the corresponding seller revenue. Our numerical experiments suggest that when any participant is time sensitive, the seller may significantly increase his utility by introducing a buyout option, but that dynamic buyout prices may not provide a substantial advantage over static ones. Furthermore, whereas permanent buyout options yield higher predicted revenue than temporary options, they also provide additional incentives for late bidding and may therefore not be always more desirable.

Suggested Citation

  • Jérémie Gallien & Shobhit Gupta, 2007. "Temporary and Permanent Buyout Prices in Online Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(5), pages 814-833, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:5:p:814-833

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kirkegaard, René & Overgaard, Per Baltzer, "undated". "Buy-Out Prices in Online Auctions: Multi-Unit Demand," Economics Working Papers 2003-4, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
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    5. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-286, July.
    6. René Caldentey & Gustavo Vulcano, 2007. "Online Auction and List Price Revenue Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(5), pages 795-813, May.
    7. Timothy Mathews, 2004. "The Impact of Discounting on an Auction with a Buyout Option: a Theoretical Analysis Motivated by eBay’s Buy-It-Now Feature," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 25-52, January.
    8. Hidvegi, Zoltan & Wang, Wenli & Whinston, Andrew B., 2006. "Buy-price English auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 31-56, July.
    9. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-86, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sun, Daewon & Li, Erick & Hayya, Jack C., 2010. "The optimal format to sell a product through the internet: Posted price, auction, and buy-price auction," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 147-157, September.
    2. repec:eee:trapol:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:63-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Tim Grebe & Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel & Sabine Kröger, 2009. "Buy-it-Now Prices in eBay Auctions-The Field in the Lab," Cahiers de recherche 0950, CIRPEE.
    4. Bauner, Christoph, 2015. "Mechanism choice and the buy-it-now auction: A structural model of competing buyers and sellers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 19-31.
    5. Olivier Armantier & Jean-Pierre Florens & Jean-Francois Richard, 2008. "Approximation of Nash equilibria in Bayesian games," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(7), pages 965-981.
    6. Xuanming Su & Fuqiang Zhang, 2008. "Strategic Customer Behavior, Commitment, and Supply Chain Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(10), pages 1759-1773, October.
    7. 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.
    8. René Caldentey & Gustavo Vulcano, 2007. "Online Auction and List Price Revenue Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(5), pages 795-813, May.
    9. Jason Kuruzovich & Siva Viswanathan & Ritu Agarwal, 2010. "Seller Search and Market Outcomes in Online Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(10), pages 1702-1717, October.
    10. Jiang, Zhong-Zhong & Fang, Shu-Cherng & Fan, Zhi-Ping & Wang, Dingwei, 2013. "Selecting optimal selling format of a product in B2C online auctions with boundedly rational customers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 226(1), pages 139-153.
    11. Kevin Hasker & Robin Sickles, 2010. "eBay in the Economic Literature: Analysis of an Auction Marketplace," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 37(1), pages 3-42, August.
    12. Matzke, Andreas & Volling, Thomas & Spengler, Thomas S., 2016. "Upgrade auctions in build-to-order manufacturing with loss-averse customers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 250(2), pages 470-479.


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