IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Overbidding in Independant Private-Values Auctions and Misperception of Probabilities

  • Olivier Armantier
  • Nicolas Treich

We conduct an experiment to test whether probability misperception may be a possible alternative to risk aversion to explain overbidding in independent first-price private-values auctions. The experimental outcomes indicate that subjects underestimate their probability of winning the auction, and indeed overbid. Yet, when provided with feed-back on the precision of their predictions, subjects learn first to predict their probability of winning correctly, and second to curb-down significantly overbidding. The structural estimation of different behavioral models suggests that i) subjects are heterogenous with respect to risk preferences and probability perceptions, ii) subjects tend to best-respond to their stated beliefs, and iii) although necessary to explain fully behavior, risk aversion appears to play a lesser role than previously believed. Finally, our experimental findings are shown to be consistent with a standard theoretical auction model combining risk aversion and misperception of probabilities. Nous menons une expérience pour évaluer si le fait qu'un sujet évalue mal ses probabilités de gagner peut être une hypothèse alternative à l'aversion au risque pour expliquer les surenchères lors d'enchères indépendantes privées au premier prix. Les résultats expérimentaux montrent, en effet, que les sujets sous-estiment leurs probabilités de gagner l'enchère et ont tendance à surenchérir. Cependant, lorsqu'on leur présente plus de précisions sur leurs prédictions, les sujets apprennent d'abord à prédire correctement leurs probabilités de gagner, puis à limiter considérablement la surenchère. L'estimation de différents modèles du comportement suggère que i) les sujets sont hétérogènes par rapport à leurs préférences du risque et leurs perceptions des probabilités, ii) les sujets choisissent leur meilleure réponse conditionnellement aux croyances qu'ils révèlent, et iii) bien que nécessaire pour expliquer pleinement le comportement des sujets, l'aversion au risque semble jouer un rôle moins important que prévu. Finalement, nos résultats expérimentaux sont consistants avec un modèle théorique d'enchères standard qui combine l'aversion au risque et la mauvaise perception des probabilités.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2006s-15.

in new window

Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2006s-15
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1130 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, suite 1400, Montréal, Quéc, H3A 2M8
Phone: (514) 985-4000
Fax: (514) 985-4039
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Viscusi, W Kip & Hakes, Jahn K & Carlin, Alan, 1997. "Measures of Mortality Risks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 213-33, May-June.
  2. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  3. Bellemare, Charles & Kröger, Sabine & van Soest, Arthur, 2005. "Actions and Beliefs: Estimating Distribution-Based Preferences Using a Large Scale Experiment with Probability Questions on Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 1666, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Kagel, John H & Roth, Alvin E, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior in First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1379-91, December.
  5. Viscusi, W Kip & O'Connor, Charles J, 1984. "Adaptive Responses to Chemical Labeling: Are Workers Bayesian Decision Makers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 942-56, December.
  6. Paul Pezanis-Christou & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2003. "Elicited bid functions in (a)symmetric first-price auctions," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 578.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Giordani, Paolo & Söderlind, Paul, 2003. "Is There Evidence of Pessimism and Doubt in Subjective Distributions? A Comment on Abel," CEPR Discussion Papers 4068, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Selten, Reinhard & Joachim Buchta, 1994. "Experimental Sealed Bid First Price Auctions with Directly Observed Bid Functions," Discussion Paper Serie B 270, University of Bonn, Germany.
  9. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1994. "Comparing Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 441-59, June.
  10. Ockenfels, Axel & Selten, Reinhard, 2005. "Impulse balance equilibrium and feedback in first price auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 155-170, April.
  11. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
  12. Chen, Kay-Yut & Plott, Charles R., 1998. "Nonlinear Behavior in Sealed Bid First Price Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 34-78, October.
  13. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
  14. Schotter, Andrew & Sopher, Barry, 2007. "Advice and behavior in intergenerational ultimatum games: An experimental approach," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 365-393, February.
  15. Wakker, Peter P & Thaler, Richard H & Tversky, Amos, 1997. "Probabilistic Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 7-28, October.
  16. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter, 2002. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Elicited Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 971-1005, May.
  17. Nathaniel T. Wilcox & Nick Feltovich, 2000. "Thinking Like a Game Theorist: Comment," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-30, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  18. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  19. Tibor Neugebauer & Reinhard Selten, 2002. "Individual Behavior of First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions: The Importance of Information Feedback in Experimental Markets," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse3_2003, University of Bonn, Germany.
  20. Robert Dorsey & Laura Razzolini, 2003. "Explaining Overbidding in First Price Auctions Using Controlled Lotteries," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 123-140, October.
  21. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2003. "Promises & Partnership," Research Papers in Economics 2003:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  22. Harrison, Glenn W, 1990. "Risk Attitudes in First-Price Auction Experiments: A Bayesian Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(3), pages 541-46, August.
  23. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1985. "Experimental Development of Sealed-Bid Auction Theory: Calibrating Controls for Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 160-65, May.
  24. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 2000. "Equilibrium in Sealed High Bid Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 439-454.
  25. Drazen Prelec, 1998. "The Probability Weighting Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 497-528, May.
  26. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
  27. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M., 1985. "Information and conspiracy in sealed bid auctions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 139-159, June.
  28. Harrison, Glenn W, 1989. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 749-62, September.
  29. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  30. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  31. Paul Pezanis-Christou & Andres Romeu, 2002. "Structural Inferences from First-Price Auction Experiments," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 531.02, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  32. Merlo, Antonio & Schotter, Andrew, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1413-25, December.
  33. Landsberger, Michael & Meilijson, Isaac, 1990. "Lotteries, insurance, and star-shaped utility functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-17, October.
  34. Offerman, Theo & Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur, 1996. "Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 817-45, July.
  35. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1988. " Theory and Individual Behavior of First-Price Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 61-99, March.
  36. Gradstein, Mark & Nitzan, Shmuel & Slutsky, Steven, 1992. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Interactive Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(412), pages 554-61, May.
  37. Croson, Rachel T. A., 2000. "Thinking like a game theorist: factors affecting the frequency of equilibrium play," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 299-314, March.
  38. Friedman, Daniel, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1374-78, December.
  39. Cox, James C. & Smith, Vernon L. & Walker, James M., 1983. "Tests of a heterogeneous bidders theory of first price auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 12(3-4), pages 207-212.
  40. Gerking, Shelby & de Haan, Menno & Schulze, William, 1988. " The Marginal Value of Job Safety: A Contingent Valuation Study," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 185-99, June.
  41. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1392-412, December.
  42. C. Monica Capra & Jacob K Goeree & Rosario Gomez & Charles A Holt, 2002. "Learning and Noisy Equilibrium Behavior in an Experimental Study of Imperfect Price Competition," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 613-636, August.
  43. Hong, Chew Soo & Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1987. "Risk aversion in the theory of expected utility with rank dependent probabilities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 370-381, August.
  44. Benjamin, Daniel K & Dougan, William R & Buschena, David, 2001. " Individuals' Estimates of the Risks of Death: Part II--New Evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 35-57, January.
  45. Wakker, P.P. & Thaler, R.H. & Tversky, A., 1997. "Probabilistic insurance," Discussion Paper 1997-35, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  46. Manski, Charles F., 2002. "Identification of decision rules in experiments on simple games of proposal and response," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 880-891, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2006s-15. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.