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Estimating risk aversion from ascending and sealed-bid auctions: the case of timber auction data

  • Jingfeng Lu

    (Department of Economics, National University of Singapore)

  • Isabelle Perrigne

    (Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)

Estimating bidders' risk aversion in auctions is a challenging problem because of identification issues. This paper takes advantage of bidding data from two auction designs to identify nonparametrically the bidders' utility function within a private value framework. In particular, ascending auction data allow one to recover the latent distribution of private values, while first-price sealed-bid auction data allow one to recover the bidders' utility function. This leads to a nonparametric estimator. An application to the US Forest Service timber auctions is proposed. Estimated utility functions display concavity, which can be partly captured by constant relative risk aversion. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2008)
Issue (Month): 7 ()
Pages: 871-896

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Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:23:y:2008:i:7:p:871-896
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  1. Hansen, Robert G, 1985. "Empirical Testing of Auction Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 156-59, May.
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  7. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin, 1999. "Information and Competition in U.S. Forest Service Timber Auctions," NBER Working Papers 7185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Quang Vuong & Isabelle Perrigne, 2007. "Identification and Estimation of Bidders' Risk Aversion in First-Price Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 444-448, May.
  9. Guerre, E. & Perrigne, I. & Vuong, Q., 1995. "Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Papers 9504, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  10. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortacsu, 2003. "Are Structural Estimates of Auction Models Reasonable? Evidence from Experimental Data," Working Papers 03002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  11. Sandra Campo & Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2003. "Semiparametric Estimation of First-price Auctions with Risk Averse Bidders," Working Papers 2003-09, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  12. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin & Enrique Seira, 2011. "Comparing open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Evidence from Timber Auctions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 207-257.
  13. Baldwin, Laura H & Marshall, Robert C & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1997. "Bidder Collusion at Forest Service Timber Sales," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 657-99, August.
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  18. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
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