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Inference with an incomplete model of English auctions

Listed author(s):
  • Haile,P.A.
  • Tamer,E.T.

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Social Systems Research Institute)

While English auctions are the most common in practice, their rules typically lack sufficient structure to yield a tractable theoretical model without significant abstractions. Rather than relying on one stylized model to provide an exact interpretation of the data, we explore an incomplete model based on two simple assumptions: bidders neither bid more than their valuations nor let an opponent win at a price they would be willing to beat. Focusing on the symmetric independent private values paradigm, we show that this limited structure enables construction of informative bounds on the distribution function characterizing bidder demand, on the optimal reserve price, and on the effects of observable covariates on bidder valuations. If the standard theoretical model happens to be the true model, our bounds collapse to the true features of interest. In contrast, when the true data†generating process deviates in seemingly small ways from that implied by equilibrium in the standard theoretical model, existing methods can yield misleading results that need not even lie within our bounds. We report results from Monte Carlo experiments illustrating the performance of our approach and comparing it to others. We apply our approach to U.S. Forest Service timber auctions to evaluate reserve price policy.

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File URL: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~phaile/eabounds.pdf
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Paper provided by Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems in its series Working papers with number 18.

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Date of creation: 2000
Handle: RePEc:att:wimass:200018
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UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON, SOCIAL SYSTEMS RESEARCH INSTITUTE(S.S.R.I.), MADISON WISCONSIN 53706 U.S.A.

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  1. Horowitz, Joel L. & Manski, Charles F., 1998. "Censoring of outcomes and regressors due to survey nonresponse: Identification and estimation using weights and imputations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 37-58, May.
  2. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
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  5. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin, 2001. "Information and Competition in U.S. Forest Service Timber Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 375-417, April.
  6. repec:cup:etheor:v:12:y:1996:i:3:p:517-67 is not listed on IDEAS
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  8. V. Joseph Hotz & Charles H. Mullin & Seth G. Sanders, 1997. "Bounding Causal Effects Using Data from a Contaminated Natural Experiment: Analysing the Effects of Teenage Childbearing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 575-603.
  9. Hong, Han & Shum, Matthew, 2003. "Econometric models of asymmetric ascending auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 327-358, February.
  10. Zvika Neeman, 1998. "The Effectiveness of Simple Auctions," Papers 0095, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
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  12. Paarsch, H.J., 1992. "Empirical Models of Auctions and an Application to British Columbian Timber Sales," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9212, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  13. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1997. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 497-527, 09.
  14. 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.
  15. Donald, Stephen G. & Paarsch, Harry J., 1996. "Identification, Estimation, and Testing in Parametric Empirical Models of Auctions within the Independent Private Values Paradigm," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 517-567, August.
  16. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  17. Paarsch, Harry J., 1997. "Deriving an estimate of the optimal reserve price: An application to British Columbian timber sales," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 333-357, June.
  18. Charles F. Manski & Elie Tamer, 2002. "Inference on Regressions with Interval Data on a Regressor or Outcome," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 519-546, March.
  19. Philip A. Haile, 2001. "Auctions with Resale Markets: An Application to U.S. Forest Service Timber Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 399-427, June.
  20. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-286, July.
  21. Manski, C.F., 1992. "Identification Problems in the Social Sciences," Working papers 9217, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  22. Susan Athey & Philip A. Haile, 2002. "Identification of Standard Auction Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2107-2140, November.
  23. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1997. "Game theory and empirical economics: The case of auction data 1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-35, January.
  24. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "Observable Implications of Models with Multiple Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1431-1437, November.
  25. Baldwin, Laura H & Marshall, Robert C & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1997. "Bidder Collusion at Forest Service Timber Sales," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 657-699, August.
  26. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-86, July.
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