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Reserve prices in auctions as reference points

  • Stephanie Rosenkranz
  • Patrick W. Schmitz

We consider second-price and first-price auctions in the symmetric independent private values framework. We modify the standard model by the assumption that the bidders have reference-based utility, where a publicly announced reserve price has some influence on the reference point. It turns out that the seller’s optimal reserve price is increasing in the number of bidders. Also in contrast to the standard model, we find that secret reserve prices can outperform public reserve prices, and that setting the optimal reserve price can be more valuable for the seller than attracting additional bidders.

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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse24_2005.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse24_2005
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
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Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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  1. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  2. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  3. Chen, Yongmin, 2000. "Promises, Trust, and Contracts," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 209-32, April.
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  9. Steven A. Matthews, 1995. "A Technical Primer on Auction Theory I: Independent Private Values," Discussion Papers 1096, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Charles Zhoucheng Zheng, 2002. "Optimal Auction with Resale," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2197-2224, November.
  11. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  12. Horstmann, I.J. & LaCasse, C., 1995. "Secret Reserve Prices in a Bidding Model with a Re-Sale Option," Working Papers 9507e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  13. Mailath, George J. & Zemsky, Peter, 1991. "Collusion in second price auctions with heterogeneous bidders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 467-486, November.
  14. Elyakime, Bernard & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Loisel, Patrice & Vuong, Quang, 1993. "First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions with Secret Reservation Prices," IDEI Working Papers 27, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  15. Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Rational irrationality: Some economics of self-management," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 633-655, May.
  16. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  17. John G. Riley & William Samuelson, 1979. "Optimal Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 152, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Graham, Daniel A & Marshall, Robert C, 1987. "Collusive Bidder Behavior at Single-Object Second-Price and English Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1217-39, December.
  19. Ingela Alger & Regis Renault, 2000. "Screening Ethics when Honest Agents Care about Fairness," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 489, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Nov 2004.
  20. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
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