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Creating competition out of thin air: Market thickening and right-to-choose auctions

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  • Kfir Eliaz

Abstract

We study a procedure for selling multiple heterogenous goods, which is commonly used in practice but rarely studied in the literature. The novel feature of this procedure is that instead of selling the goods themselves, the seller offers buyers the right to choose among the available goods. Thus, buyers who are after completely different goods are forced to compete for the same good, the ‘right to choose’. Competition can be further enhanced by restricting the number of rights that are sold. This is shown both theoretically and experimentally. Our main experimental finding is that by auctioning ‘rights-to-choose’ rather than the goods themselves, the seller induces an aggressive bidding behaviour that generates more revenue than the theoretical optimal mechanism.
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Suggested Citation

  • Kfir Eliaz, 2003. "Creating competition out of thin air: Market thickening and right-to-choose auctions," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000047, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:uclatw:658612000000000047
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ashenfelter, Orley & Genesove, David, 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in Real-Estate Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 501-505, May.
    2. Menezes, Flavio M & Monteiro, Paulo Klinger, 1998. "Simultaneous Pooled Auctions," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 219-232, November.
    3. Roberto Burguet, 2005. "The condominium problem; auctions for substitutes," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 9(2), pages 73-90, April.
    4. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-286, July.
    5. Gale, I. & Hausch, D., 1992. "Bottom-Fishing and Declining Prices in Sequential Auctions," Working papers 9215, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    6. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
    7. Gale Ian L. & Hausch Donald B., 1994. "Bottom-Fishing and Declining Prices in Sequential Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 318-331, November.
    8. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 2001. "Behavior in Multi-unit Demand Auctions: Experiments with Uniform Price and Dynamic Vickrey Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 413-454, March.
    9. Noussair, Charles, 1995. "Equilibria in a Multi-object Uniform Price Sealed Bid Auction with Multi-unit Demands," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 5(2), pages 337-351, March.
    10. Goeree, Jacob K. & Offerman, Theo, 2003. "Winner's curse without overbidding," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 625-644, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Salmon, Timothy C. & Iachini, Michael, 2007. "Continuous ascending vs. pooled multiple unit auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 67-85, October.
    2. Burguet, Roberto, 2007. "Right to choose in oral auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 167-173, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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