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Are subjects making financial decisions in lab auctions or are they just gambling?

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  • Cary Deck
  • Jungmin Lee
  • Javier Reyes

Abstract

Optimal bidding strategies in first-price and Dutch auctions are theoretically isomorphic but depend on bidder risk attitudes. However, laboratory experiments consistently find different behaviour between auction formats. This article explores whether the notion in psychology that financial and gambling risks are viewed differently can explain the discrepancy. Ultimately, the evidence does not support this hypothesis, but a bidder's propensity to gamble is associated with how much risk he takes in both auctions whereas his propensity to take financial risks is not. The results suggest that subjects may view themselves as gambling in laboratory auctions rather than making financial decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Cary Deck & Jungmin Lee & Javier Reyes, 2015. "Are subjects making financial decisions in lab auctions or are they just gambling?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 228-232, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:22:y:2015:i:3:p:228-232
    DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2014.934427
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
    2. Deck, Cary & Lee, Jungmin & Reyes, Javier A. & Rosen, Christopher C., 2013. "A failed attempt to explain within subject variation in risk taking behavior using domain specific risk attitudes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-24.
    3. Cox, James C. & Smith, Vernon L. & Walker, James M., 1983. "A test that discriminates between two models of the Dutch-first auction non-isomorphism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(2-3), pages 205-219.
    4. Cary Deck & Jungmin Lee & Javier Reyes, 2008. "Risk attitudes in large stake gambles: evidence from a game show," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 41-52.
    5. Smith, Kip & Dickhaut, John, 2005. "Economics and emotion: Institutions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 316-335, August.
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    1. repec:gam:jgames:v:7:y:2016:i:1:p:5:d:63022 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.

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