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Using Economic Theory to Guide Numerical Analysis: Solving for Equilibria in Models of Asymmetric First-Price Auctions

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  • Timothy Hubbard

    ()

  • René Kirkegaard

    ()

  • Harry Paarsch

    ()

Abstract

In models of first-price auctions, when bidders are ex ante heterogeneous, deriving explicit equilibrium bid functions is typically impossible, so numerical methods are often employed to find approximate solutions. Recent theoretical research concerning asymmetric auctions has determined some properties these bid functions must satisfy when certain conditions are met. Plotting the relative expected pay-offs of bidders is a quick, informative way to decide whether the approximate solutions are consistent with theory. We approximate the (inverse-)bid functions by polynomials and employ theoretical results in two ways: to help solve for the polynomial coefficients and to evaluate qualitatively the appropriateness of a given approximation. We simulate auctions from the approximated solutions and find that, for the examples considered, low-degree polynomial approximations perform poorly and can lead to incorrect policy recommendations concerning auction design, suggesting researchers need to take care to obtain quality solutions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Hubbard & René Kirkegaard & Harry Paarsch, 2013. "Using Economic Theory to Guide Numerical Analysis: Solving for Equilibria in Models of Asymmetric First-Price Auctions," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 241-266, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:compec:v:42:y:2013:i:2:p:241-266
    DOI: 10.1007/s10614-012-9333-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. De Silva, Dakshina G. & Hubbard, Timothy P. & Kosmopoulou, Georgia, 2013. "Efficacy of a Bidder Training Program: Lessons from LINC," MPRA Paper 51329, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Timothy P. Hubbard & Rene Kirkegaard, 2015. "Asymmetric Auctions with More Than Two Bidders," Working Papers 1502, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    4. Yizhaq Minchuk, 2013. "Low and High Types of Bidders in Asymmetric Auctions with A General Utility Function," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1328-1332.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    First-price auctions; Asymmetric auctions; Numerical methods;

    JEL classification:

    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

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