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Explaining Overbidding in First Price Auctions Using Controlled Lotteries

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  • Robert Dorsey
  • Laura Razzolini

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Abstract

In this paper, we study the behavior of individuals when facing two different, but incentive-wise identical, institutions. We pair the first price auction with an equivalent lottery. Once a subject is assigned a value for the auctioned object, the first price auction can be modeled as a lottery in which the individual faces a given probability of winning a certain payoff. This set up allows us to explore to what extent the misperception of the probability of winning in the auction is responsible for bidders in a first price auction to bidding above the risk neutral Nash equilibrium prediction. The first result we obtain is that individuals, even though facing the same choice over probability/payoff pairs, behave differently depending on the type of choice they are called to make. When facing an auction, subjects with high values tend to bid significantly above the bid they choose in the corresponding lottery environment. We further find that in both the lottery and the auction environments, subjects tend to bid in excess of the bid predicted by the risk neutral model, at least for intermediate range values. Finally, we find that the difference between the lottery behavior and the auction behavior is substantially, but not totally, eliminated by showing the subjects the probability of winning the auction. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Dorsey & Laura Razzolini, 2003. "Explaining Overbidding in First Price Auctions Using Controlled Lotteries," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(2), pages 123-140, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:6:y:2003:i:2:p:123-140
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1025375803912
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Salmon, Timothy C. & Iachini, Michael, 2007. "Continuous ascending vs. pooled multiple unit auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 67-85, October.
    2. Ertaç, Seda & Hortaçsu, Ali & Roberts, James W., 2011. "Entry into auctions: An experimental analysis," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 168-178, March.
    3. Hu, Youxin & Kagel, John & Xu, Xiaoshu & Ye, Lixin, 2013. "Theoretical and experimental analysis of auctions with negative externalities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 269-291.
    4. Kirchkamp, Oliver & Poen, Eva & Reiß, J. Philipp, 2004. "Bidding with outside options," Papers 04-21, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    5. Sascha Füllbrunn & Tibor Neugebauer, 2013. "Varying the number of bidders in the first-price sealed-bid auction: experimental evidence for the one-shot game," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(3), pages 421-447, September.
    6. Ivanov, Asen, 2011. "Attitudes to ambiguity in one-shot normal-form games: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 366-394, March.
    7. James C. Cox & Duncan James, 2014. "On Replication and Perturbation of the McKelvey and Palfrey Centipede Game Experiment," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2014-04, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    8. Andrea Robbett & Michael K. Graham & Peter Hans Matthews, 2016. "Revenue Implications of Strategic and External Auction Risk," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-18, January.
    9. Ahmad, Husnain Fateh, 2015. "Endogenous price expectations as reference points in auctions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 46-63.
    10. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & Elena Katok, 2008. "Regret and Feedback Information in First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(4), pages 808-819, April.
    11. Marco Casari & John C. Ham & John H. Kagel, 2007. "Selection Bias, Demographic Effects, and Ability Effects in Common Value Auction Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1278-1304, September.
    12. Ratan, Anmol, 2015. "Does displaying probabilities affect bidding in first-price auctions?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 119-121.
    13. Charness, Gary B & Levin, Dan, 2007. "The Origin of the Winner’s Curse: A Laboratory Study," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8g88c6ww, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    14. Olivier Armantier & Nicolas Treich, 2006. "Overbidding in Independant Private-Values Auctions and Misperception of Probabilities," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-15, CIRANO.
    15. Neugebauer, Tibor & Selten, Reinhard, 2006. "Individual behavior of first-price auctions: The importance of information feedback in computerized experimental markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 183-204, January.
    16. Lange, Andreas & Ratan, Anmol, 2010. "Multi-dimensional reference-dependent preferences in sealed-bid auctions - How (most) laboratory experiments differ from the field," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 634-645, March.
    17. Munetomo Ando, 2004. "Overconfidence in Economic Contests," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 708, Econometric Society.
    18. Duncan James, 2007. "Stability of risk preference parameter estimates within the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak procedure," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 123-141, June.
    19. Tibor Neugebauer & Javier Perote, 2008. "Bidding ‘as if’ risk neutral in experimental first price auctions without information feedback," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(2), pages 190-202, June.

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    Keywords

    auctions; lotteries; efficiency;

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