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Hedging Winner'S Curse With Multiple Bids: Evidence From The Portuguese Treasury Bill Auction


  • Michael B. Gordy


Auctions of government securities typically permit bidders to enter multiple price-quantity bids. Despite the widespread adoption of this institutional feature and its use by bidders, the motivations behind its use and its effects on auction outcomes are not well understood theoretically and have been little explored empirically. This paper proposes that bidders use multiple bids to adjust for winner's curse: By spreading her bids, a bidder aligns her outcome more closely to the aggregate outcome of the auction. This hypothesis is tested using bidding data from treasury bill auctions in Portugal. I find that, ceteris paribus, a bidder submits a greater number of bids and disperses prices on these bids more widely when there is a greater potential for winner's curse. In particular, both these measures of bid-spreading increase with the volatility of market interest rates and the expected number of participating well-informed bidders. © 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suggested Citation

  • Michael B. Gordy, 1999. "Hedging Winner'S Curse With Multiple Bids: Evidence From The Portuguese Treasury Bill Auction," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 448-465, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:81:y:1999:i:3:p:448-465

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Wilson, 1979. "Auctions of Shares," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 675-689.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abbink, Klaus & Brandts, Jordi & Pezanis-Christou, Paul, 2006. "Auctions for government securities: A laboratory comparison of uniform, discriminatory and Spanish designs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 284-303, October.
    2. Xavier Vives, 2011. "Strategic Supply Function Competition With Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(6), pages 1919-1966, November.
    3. Alvarez, Francisco & Mazon, Cristina, 2007. "Comparing the Spanish and the discriminatory auction formats: A discrete model with private information," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 179(1), pages 253-266, May.
    4. Saikat Nandi, 1997. "Treasury auctions: what do the recent models and results tell us?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 4, pages 4-15.
    5. Michael B. Gordy, "undated". "Multiple Bids in a Multiple-Unit Common Value Auction," Computing in Economics and Finance 1996 _021, Society for Computational Economics.
    6. Han, Bing & Longstaff, Francis A. & Merrill, Craig, 2005. "The Cherry-Picking Option in the U.S. Treasury Buyback Auctions," Working Paper Series 2004-23, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    7. Raphaële Préget, 2004. "Adjudications des valeurs du Trésor," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 18(4), pages 63-110.
    8. Sara G. Castellanos & Marco A. Oviedo, 2004. "Optimal Bidding in the Mexican Treasury Securities Primary Auctions: Results from a Structural Econometrics Approach," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000118, David K. Levine.
    9. Francisco Alvarez & Cristina Mazón, 2016. "Price volatility in the secondary market and bidders’ heterogeneous behavior in Spanish Treasury auctions," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(4), pages 1435-1466, June.
    10. Nielsen, Kurt, 2005. "Auctioning Payment Entitlements," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24566, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Zhang, Ning, 2009. "Market performance and bidders' bidding behavior in the New York Transmission Congestion Contract market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 61-68, January.
    12. Eisenschmidt, Jens & Hirsch, Astrid & Linzert, Tobias, 2009. "Bidding behaviour in the ECB's main refinancing operations during the financial crisis," Working Paper Series 1052, European Central Bank.
    13. Sara Castellanos, 2001. "A New Empirical Study of the Mexican Treasury Securities Primary Auctions: Is there more underpricing?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000206, David K. Levine.
    14. Sara Castellanos, 2001. "Mexican treasury securities primary auctions," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000025, UCLA Department of Economics.
    15. Anderson Caputo Silva, 2003. "Bidding Strategies in Brazilian Treasury Auctions," Brazilian Review of Finance, Brazilian Society of Finance, vol. 1(1), pages 113-161.
    16. Song, Zhaogang & Zhu, Haoxiang, 2014. "QE Auctions of Treasury Bonds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    17. Michał Krawczyk, 2009. "Demand functions in Polish Treasury auctions," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 40(4), pages 31-49.
    18. Longstaff, Francis A & Han, Bing & Merrill, Craig, 2004. "Revenue Implications of Multi-Item Multi-Unit Auction Designs: Empirical Evidence from the U.S. Treasury Buyback Auctions," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt7344v866, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates


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