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Collusion in auctions for emission permits: An experimental analysis

  • Dallas Burtraw

    (Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future)

  • Jacob Goeree

    (Professor, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, CalTech)

  • Charles A. Holt

    (Professor, Economics, University of Virginia)

  • Erica Myers

    (Research Assistant, Resources for the Future)

  • Karen Palmer

    (Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future)

  • William Shobe

    (Director, Center for Economic and Policy Studies, University of Virginia)

Environmental markets have several institutional features that provide a new context for the use of auctions and that have not been studied previously. This paper reports on laboratory experiments testing three auction forms-uniform and discriminatory price sealed-bid auctions and an ascending clock auction. We test the ability of subjects to tacitly or explicitly collude in order to maximize profits. Our main result is that the discriminatory and uniform price auctions produce greater revenues than the clock auction, both with and without explicit communication. The clock appears to facilitate successful collusion, both because of its sequential structure and because it allows bidders to focus on one dimension of cooperation (quantity) rather than two (price and quantity).© 2009 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 672-691

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:28:y:2009:i:4:p:672-691
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  1. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2002. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C74-C96, March.
  2. Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer, 2008. "Compensation rules for climate policy in the electricity sector," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(4), pages 819-847.
  3. Porter, David & Rassenti, Stephen & Shobe, William & Smith, Vernon & Winn, Abel, 2009. "The design, testing and implementation of Virginia's NOx allowance auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 190-200, February.
  4. Alsemgeest, P. & Noussair, C. & Olson, M., 1995. "Experimental Comparisons of Auctions Under Single and Multi Unit Demand," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1078, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  5. Thomas Tröger & Rodney Garratt & Charles Zheng, 2008. "Collusion via Resale," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse20_2008, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Cramton, Peter, 1998. "Ascending auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 745-756, May.
  7. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2006. "Summary of the Workshop to Support Implementing the Minimum 25 Percent Public Benefit Allocation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," Discussion Papers dp-06-45, Resources For the Future.
  8. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-72, March.
  9. Goswami, Gautam & Noe, Thomas H & Rebello, Michael J, 1996. "Collusion in Uniform-Price Auctions: Experimental Evidence and Implications for Treasury Auctions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(3), pages 757-85.
  10. Charles A. Holt & William M. Shobe & Angela M. Smith, 2005. "An Experimental Basis for Public Policy Initiatives," Working Papers 2005-01, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
  11. David Porter & Roumen Vragov, 2006. "An experimental examination of demand reduction in multi-unit versions of the Uniform-price, Vickrey, and English auctions," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(6), pages 445-458.
  12. Haile, Philip A., 2000. "Partial Pooling at the Reserve Price in Auctions with Resale Opportunities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 231-248, November.
  13. Haile, Philip A., 2003. "Auctions with private uncertainty and resale opportunities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 72-110, January.
  14. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Economics Papers 2004-W09, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  15. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1995. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpdr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 22 Jul 2002.
  16. Charles A. Holt & William Shobe & Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer & Jacob K. Goeree, 2007. "Auction Design for Selling CO2 Emission Allowances Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," Reports 2007-03, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
  17. Mason, Charles F & Phillips, Owen R & Nowell, Clifford, 1992. "Duopoly Behavior in Asymmetric Markets: An Experimental Evaluation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 662-70, November.
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