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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. David Lucking-Reiley & Charles H. Mullin, 2000. "Recombinant Estimation for Normal-Form Games, with Applications to Auctions and Bargaining," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0014, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  4. Güth, Werner & Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Wolfstetter, Elmar, 2001. "Bidding behavior in asymmetric auctions: An experimental study," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,15, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  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. Garratt, Rod & Walker, Mark & Wooders, John, 2004. "Behavior in Second-Price Auctions by Highly Experienced eBay Buyers and Sellers," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7s72r56p, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  7. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1093-1103, September.
  8. 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.
  9. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1993. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behaviour in First-, Second- and Third-Price Auctions with Varying Numbers of Bidders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(419), pages 868-79, July.
  10. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71, February.
  11. Ronald Harstad, 2000. "Dominant Strategy Adoption and Bidders' Experience with Pricing Rules," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 261-280, December.
  12. 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.
  13. Harstad, Ronald M., 1996. "Dominant Strategy Adoption, Efficiency, and Bidders' Experience with Pricing Rules," Discussion Paper Serie B 357, University of Bonn, Germany.
  14. Werner G¸th & Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel & Manfred K–nigstein & Martin Strobel, 2003. "Learning to bid - an experimental study of bid function adjustments in auctions and fair division games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 477-494, 04.
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