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Auction Form Preferences of Risk-Averse Bid Takers

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  • Keith Waehrer
  • Ronald M. Harstad
  • Michael H. Rothkopf

Abstract

We analyze the preferences of a risk-averse seller over the class of "standard" auctions with symmetric and risk-neutral bidders. Assuming that buyers' private signals are independently distributed, we find that a sealed-bid first-price auction with an appropriately set reserve price is preferred by all risk-averse sellers to any other standard auction. In first- and second-price auctions, the more risk averse a seller, the lower the seller's optimal reserve price. Given two first-price auctions with reserve prices and entry fees such that both have the same screening level, all risk-averse sellers prefer the auction with the lower entry fee.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith Waehrer & Ronald M. Harstad & Michael H. Rothkopf, 1998. "Auction Form Preferences of Risk-Averse Bid Takers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 179-192, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:29:y:1998:i:spring:p:179-192
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    Cited by:

    1. Estrella Alonso & Gustavo Juan Tejada, 2012. "The Auction Model with Lowest Risk in a Duopolistic Electricity Market," Económica, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, vol. 0, pages 3-21, January-D.
    2. Menicucci, Domenico, 2006. "Full surplus extraction by a risk averse seller in correlated environments," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 280-300, May.
    3. Ángel Hernando Veciana, 2002. "(Sub-)Optimal Entry Fees," Working Papers. Serie AD 2002-03, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    4. Rosar, Frank, 2014. "Secret reserve prices in first-price auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 65-74.
    5. Eso, Peter & Futo, Gabor, 1999. "Auction design with a risk averse seller," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 71-74, October.
    6. Hu, Audrey & Matthews, Steven A. & Zou, Liang, 2010. "Risk aversion and optimal reserve prices in first- and second-price auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1188-1202, May.
    7. Ronald M. Harstad & Michael H. Rothkopf, 2000. "An "Alternating Recognition" Model of English Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(1), pages 1-12, January.
    8. Audrey Hu & Liang Zou, 2008. "Auctions under Payoff Uncertainty: The Case with Heterogeneous Bidder-Aversion to Downside Risk," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-044/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 22 Apr 2008.
    9. Walley, Matthew J.C. & Fortin, David R., 2005. "Behavioral outcomes from online auctions: reserve price, reserve disclosure, and initial bidding influences in the decision process," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 58(10), pages 1409-1418, October.
    10. Hu, Audrey & Offerman, Theo & Zou, Liang, 2011. "Premium auctions and risk preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2420-2439.
    11. Simon Stevenson & James Young, 2015. "The Role of Undisclosed Reserves in English Open Outcry Auctions," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 43(2), pages 375-402, June.
    12. Andrew M. Davis & Elena Katok & Anthony M. Kwasnica, 2011. "Do Auctioneers Pick Optimal Reserve Prices?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(1), pages 177-192, January.
    13. Budde, Maximilian & Minner, Stefan, 2014. "First- and second-price sealed-bid auctions applied to push and pull supply contracts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 237(1), pages 370-382.
    14. Fangcheng Tang & Weizhou Zhong & Shunfeng Song, 2006. "Tenders with Different Risk Preferences in Construction Industry," Working Papers 06-006, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.
    15. Eso, Peter, 2005. "An optimal auction with correlated values and risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 78-89, November.
    16. Mares, Vlad & Harstad, Ronald M., 2003. "Private information revelation in common-value auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 264-282, April.
    17. Goeree, Jacob K. & Offerman, Theo & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Using first-price auctions to sell heterogeneous licenses," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 555-581, May.

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