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Divisible-good uniform price auctions: The role of allocation rules and communication among bidders

In: Experiments in Financial Economics

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  • Martin Sefton
  • Ping Zhang

Abstract

Abstract Purpose We compare allocation rules in uniform price divisible-good auctions. Theoretically, a “standard allocation rule (STANDARD)” and a “uniform allocation rule (UNIFORM)” admit different types of low-price equilibria, which are eliminated by a “hybrid allocation rule (HYBRID).” We use a controlled laboratory experiment to compare the empirical performances of these allocation rules. Design/methodology/approach We conduct three-bidder uniform price divisible-good auctions varying the different allocation rules (standard, uniform, or hybrid) and whether or not explicit communication between bidders is allowed. For the case where explicit communication is allowed we also study six-bidder auctions. Findings We find that prices are similar across allocation rules. Under all three allocation rules, prices are competitive when bidders cannot explicitly communicate. With explicit communication, prices are collusive, and we observe collusive prices even when collusive agreements are broken. Collusive agreements are particularly fragile when the gain from a unilateral deviation is larger, and an implication of this is that collusive agreements are more robust under STANDARD. Research limitations/implications We do not find conclusive evidence of differences in performance among allocation rules. However, there is suggestive evidence that STANDARD may be more vulnerable to collusion. Originality/value Divisible-good uniform price auctions are used in financial markets, but it is not possible to use naturally occurring data to test how alternatives to the standard format would perform. Using laboratory methods we provide an initial test of alternative allocation rules.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Sefton & Ping Zhang, 2014. "Divisible-good uniform price auctions: The role of allocation rules and communication among bidders," Research in Experimental Economics, in: Sean M. Collins & R. Mark Isaac & Douglas A. Norton (ed.), Experiments in Financial Economics, volume 16, pages 53-86, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:rexezz:s0193-2306(2013)0000016004
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    1. repec:aen:journl:ej38-si1-madlener is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andreas Voss and Reinhard Madlener, 2017. "Auction Schemes, Bidding Strategies and the Cost-Optimal Level of Promoting Renewable Electricity in Germany," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(KAPSARC S).
    3. Rosen, Christiane & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "An Experimental Analysis of Single vs. Multiple Bids in Auctions of Divisible Goods," FCN Working Papers 8/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Nov 2013.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multiunit auctions; divisible-good auctions; uniform price auctions; allocation rules;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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