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Bidding Behavior and Decision Costs in Field Experiments

  • John A. List
  • David Lucking-Reiley

Whether rationality of economic behavior increases with expected payoffs and decreases with the cognitive cost it takes to formulate an optimal strategy remains an open question. We explore these issues with field data, using individual bids from sealed-bid auctions in which we sold nearly $10,000 worth of sports cards. Our results indicate that stakes do indeed matter, as high-priced ($70) cards produced more of the theoretically predicted strategic behavior than did lower-priced ($3) cards. We find additional evidence consistent with the importance of cognitive costs, as subjects more experienced with sports card auctions exhibited a greater tendency to behave strategically than did less experienced bidders. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 40 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 611-619

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:40:y:2002:i:4:p:611-619
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  1. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
  3. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & Marek Pycia & Marzena Rostek & Marek Weretka, 2014. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1366-1400.
  4. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
  5. John List, 2001. "Do explicit warnings eliminate the hypothetical bias in elicitation procedures? Evidence from field auctions for sportscards," Framed Field Experiments 00163, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & Charles M. Kahn, 1998. "Multi-unit auctions with uniform prices," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 227-258.
  7. Robert Slonim & Alvin E. Roth, 1998. "Learning in High Stakes Ultimatum Games: An Experiment in the Slovak Republic," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 569-596, May.
  8. List, John A & Shogren, Jason F, 1998. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1350-55, December.
  9. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  10. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
  11. Tenorio, Rafael, 1997. "On Strategic Quantity Bidding in Multiple Unit Auctions," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 207-17, June.
  12. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
  13. Noussair, Charles, 1995. "Equilibria in a Multi-object Uniform Price Sealed Bid Auction with Multi-unit Demands," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 337-51, March.
  14. David Lucking-Reiley & John List, 2000. "Demand reduction in a multi-unit auction: Evidence from a sportscard field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00180, The Field Experiments Website.
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