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Behavior in Second-Price Auctions by Highly Experienced eBay Buyers and Sellers

  • Garratt, Rod
  • Walker, Mark
  • Wooders, John

When second-price auctions have been conducted in the laboratory, most of the observed bids have been “overbids†(bids that exceed the bidder’s value) and there are very few underbids. Few if any of the subjects in those experiments had any prior experience bidding in auctions. We report on sealed-bid second-price auctions that we conducted on the Internet using subjects with substantial prior experience: they were highly experienced participants in eBay auctions. Unlike the novice bidders in previous (laboratory) experiments, the experienced bidders exhibited no greater tendency to overbid than to underbid. However, even subjects with substantial prior experience tend not to bid their values, suggesting that the non-optimal bidding of novice subjects is robust to substantial experience in non-experimental auctions. A key determinant of bidding behavior was whether a subject had ever been a seller on eBay.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt7s72r56p.

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Date of creation: 29 Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt7s72r56p
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  1. Kagel, J.H. & Levin, D., 1988. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behavior In First, Second And Third-Price Auctions With Varying Numbers Of Bidders," Papers 13, Houston - Department of Economics.
  2. Rodney Garratt & Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2012. "Behavior in second-price auctions by highly experienced eBay buyers and sellers," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 44-57, March.
  3. David Lucking-Reiley & Charles H. Mullin, 2000. "Recombinant Estimation for Normal-Form Games, with Applications to Auctions and Bargaining," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0077, Econometric Society.
  4. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, . "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  5. Coppinger, Vicki M & Smith, Vernon L & Titus, Jon A, 1980. "Incentives and Behavior in English, Dutch and Sealed-Bid Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(1), pages 1-22, January.
  6. Ronald Harstad, 2000. "Dominant Strategy Adoption and Bidders' Experience with Pricing Rules," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 261-280, December.
  7. Güth, Werner & Ivanova, Radosveta & Königstein, Manfred & Strobel, Martin, 1999. "Learning to bid: An experimental study of bid function adjustments in auctions and fair division games," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,70, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  8. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Guth, Werner & Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Wolfstetter, Elmar, 2005. "Bidding behavior in asymmetric auctions: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1891-1913, October.
  10. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
  11. Werner Güth & Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel, . "Asymmetric Auction Experiments With(out) Commonly Known Beliefs," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-36, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  12. Oliver Kirchkamp, & Philipp Reiß, 2006. "Another explanation for overbidding and another bias for underbidding in first-price auctions," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 0606, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
  13. David J. Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2009. "The Role of Context and Team Play in Cross-Game Learning," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(5), pages 1101-1139, 09.
  14. Harstad, Ronald M., 1996. "Dominant Strategy Adoption, Efficiency, and Bidders' Experience with Pricing Rules," Discussion Paper Serie B 357, University of Bonn, Germany.
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