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Are Structural Estimates of Auction Models Reasonable? Evidence from Experimental Data

  • Patrick Bajari
  • Ali Hortacsu

February 2003 Recently, economists have developed methods for structural estimation of auction models. Many researchers object to these methods because they find the rationality assumptions used in these models to be implausible. In this paper, we explore whether structural auction models can generate reasonable estimates of bidders’ private information. Using bid data from auction experiments, we estimate four alternative structural models of bidding in first-price sealed-bid auctions: 1) risk neutral Bayes-Nash, 2) risk averse Bayes-Nash, 3) a model of learning and 4) a quantal response model of bidding. For each model, we compare the estimated valuations and the valuations assigned to bidders in the experiments. We find that a slight modification of Guerre, Perrigne and Vuong’s (2000) procedure for estimating the risk neutral Bayes-Nash model to allow for bidder asymmetries generates quite reasonable estimates of the structural parameters. Working Papers Index

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 113 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 703-741

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:113:y:2005:i:4:p:703-741
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. Kenneth Hendricks & Joris Pinkse & Robert H. Porter, 2001. "Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions," NBER Working Papers 8294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Laffont & Ossard & Vuong, 1995. "Econometrics of first-price auctions," Working Papers 153731, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
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  5. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1989. "Convergence of Least-Squares Learning in Environments with Hidden State Variables and Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1306-22, December.
  6. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Goeree, Jacob & Holt, Charles, 2000. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-value Auctions," Working Papers 1073, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. Thomas Palfrey, 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private Value Auctions," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000089, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  9. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1392-412, December.
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  11. Paarsch, Harry J., 1992. "Deciding between the common and private value paradigms in empirical models of auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 191-215.
  12. Friedman, Daniel, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1374-78, December.
  13. Jofre-Bonet, Mireia & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2000. "Bidding behavior in a repeated procurement auction: A summary," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1006-1020, May.
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  15. repec:cup:etheor:v:12:y:1996:i:3:p:517-67 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Kagel, John H & Roth, Alvin E, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior in First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1379-91, December.
  17. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Equilibrium in Sealed High Bid Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 439-54, July.
  18. Charles A. Holt & Jacob K. Goeree, 1999. "Stochastic Game Theory: For Playing Games, Not Just for Doing Theory," Virginia Economics Online Papers 306, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  19. Dyer, Douglas & Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1989. "A Comparison of Naive and Experienced Bidders in Common Value Offer Auctions: A Laboratory Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 108-15, March.
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  22. Harrison, Glenn W, 1989. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 749-62, September.
  23. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
  24. Donald, S.G. & Paarsch, H.J., 1993. "Identification, Estimation, and Testing in Empirical Models of Auction Within the Independent Private Values Paradigm," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9319, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  25. 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.
  26. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1988. " Theory and Individual Behavior of First-Price Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 61-99, March.
  27. Harrison, Glenn W, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1426-43, December.
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