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Research Note--Strategic Bid-Shading and Sequential Auctioning with Learning from Past Prices

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  • Robert Zeithammer

    () (Anderson School of Management, University of California in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095)

Abstract

This paper analyzes sequential auctioning of single units of an indivisible good to a fluctuating population composed of overlapping generations of unit-demand bidders. Two phenomena emergent in such a market are investigated: forward-looking bidding strategies, and closed-loop selling strategies that involve learning from past prices. The buyers shade their bids down, i.e., bid less than they would in a single isolated auction, whenever they expect the seller to sell another unit of the good in the near future. Unlike in exogenous sequences of auctions, the optimal bidding strategy thus depends on the seller's selling strategy. The converse dependence also occurs: the seller can learn about current demand from past realized prices, and sell only in periods with high-enough demand. Such learning depends on the extent of bid-shading because the seller needs to invert the bidding strategy to learn. In equilibrium, buyer bid-shading persists even when the seller does not sell in every period, but it is self-regulating in that it eventually vanishes when the existence of the market is threatened by low seller profits. In this sense, auction markets have a "self-preservation instinct." General properties of learning about current demand from past auction prices are also investigated and characterized.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Zeithammer, 2007. "Research Note--Strategic Bid-Shading and Sequential Auctioning with Learning from Past Prices," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(9), pages 1510-1519, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:9:p:1510-1519
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1070.0691
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Martin Pesendorfer, 2003. "Estimation of a Dynamic Auction Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1443-1489, September.
    2. Jeitschko, Thomas D., 1999. "Equilibrium price paths in sequential auctions with stochastic supply," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 67-72, July.
    3. John Conlisk & Eitan Gerstner & Joel Sobel, 1984. "Cyclic Pricing by a Durable Goods Monopolist," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 489-505.
    4. McAfee, R. Preston & Vincent, Daniel, 1997. "Sequentially Optimal Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 246-276, February.
    5. Caillaud, Bernard & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2004. "Equilibrium reserve prices in sequential ascending auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 78-95, July.
    6. Gustavo Vulcano & Garrett van Ryzin & Costis Maglaras, 2002. "Optimal Dynamic Auctions for Revenue Management," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 4(1), pages 7-11.
    7. Gustavo Vulcano & Garrett van Ryzin & Costis Maglaras, 2002. "Optimal Dynamic Auctions for Revenue Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(11), pages 1388-1407, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hinnosaar, Toomas, 2017. "Calendar mechanisms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 252-270.
    2. Said, Maher, 2012. "Auctions with dynamic populations: Efficiency and revenue maximization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(6), pages 2419-2438.
    3. Newberry, Peter W., 2015. "The effect of competition on eBay," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 107-118.
    4. Dennis Clerck & Erik Demeulemeester, 2016. "A sequential procurement model for a PPP project pipeline," OR Spectrum: Quantitative Approaches in Management, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research e.V., vol. 38(2), pages 427-457, March.
    5. Scott Fay & Juliano Laran, 2009. "Implications of Expected Changes in the Seller's Price in Name-Your-Own-Price Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(11), pages 1783-1796, November.
    6. Lu, Y. & Gupta, A. & Ketter, W. & van Heck, H.W.G.M., 2017. "Information Transparency in B2B Auction Markets: The Role of Winner Identity Disclosure," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2017-006-LIS, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    7. repec:spr:jogath:v:47:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00182-017-0587-5 is not listed on IDEAS

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