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Ascending auctions with bidder asymmetries


  • Dominic Coey
  • Bradley Larsen
  • Kane Sweeney
  • Caio Waisman


We present a partial identification approach for ascending auctions with bidder asymmetries, where bidders' asymmetric types may be unobservable to the econometrician. Our approach yields sharp bounds and builds on and generalizes other recent bounds approaches for correlated private values ascending auctions. When bidder identities are observable, our approach yields tighter bounds than previous approaches that ignore asymmetry, demonstrating that bidder asymmetries can function as an aid rather than a hindrance to identification. We present a nonparametric estimation and inference approach relying on our identification argument and apply it to data from U.S. timber auctions, finding that bounds on optimal reserve prices and other objects of interest are noticeably tighter when exploiting bidder asymmetries.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominic Coey & Bradley Larsen & Kane Sweeney & Caio Waisman, 2017. "Ascending auctions with bidder asymmetries," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(1), pages 181-200, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:quante:v:8:y:2017:i:1:p:181-200

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    Cited by:

    1. Yu Zhu, 2020. "Inference in nonparametric/semiparametric moment equality models with shape restrictions," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(2), pages 609-636, May.
    2. Jayeeta Bhattacharya & Nathalie Gimenes & Emmanuel Guerre, 2019. "Semiparametric Quantile Models for Ascending Auctions with Asymmetric Bidders," Papers 1911.13063,, revised Sep 2020.
    3. Joachim Freyberger & Bradley J. Larsen, 2017. "Identification in Ascending Auctions, with an Application to Digital Rights Management," NBER Working Papers 23569, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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