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Best Foot Forward or Best for Last in a Sequential Auction?

  • Archishman Chakraborty

    (CUNY-Baruch College)

  • Nandini Gupta

    (William Davidson Institute, University of Michigan Business School)

  • Rick Harbaugh

    (Claremont McKenna College)

Should an informed seller of multiple goods sell the best goods first to make a favorable impression on buyers, or instead hold back on the best goods until buyers have learned more from earlier sales? To help answer this question we consider the sequential auction of two goods by a seller with private information about their values. We find that the seller's sequencing strategy endogenously generates correlation in the values of the goods across periods, thereby giving the seller an incentive to impress buyers by leading with the better good. This impression effect implies that selling the better good first is the unique equilibrium in many situations, and that selling the better good last is never a unique equilibrium. Nevertheless, if the seller could commit to a sequencing strategy, revenues would often be higher from waiting to sell the better good last. Either sequencing strategy reveals the seller's ranking of the goods and thereby, due to the linkage principle, generates higher revenues than either randomly selling the goods or selling them simultaneously.

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Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2000-43.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2000-43
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  1. Nandini Gupta & John Ham & Jan Svejnar, 2000. "Priorities and Sequencing in Privatization: Theory and Evidence from the Czech Republic," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1580, Econometric Society.
  2. McAfee R. Preston & Vincent Daniel, 1993. "The Declining Price Anomaly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-212, June.
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  4. Chakraborty, Archishman & Harbaugh, Rick, 2003. "Cheap talk comparisons in multi-issue bargaining," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 357-363, March.
  5. Audra L. Boone & J. Harold Mulherin, . "Corporate Restructuring and Corporate Auctions," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-38, Claremont Colleges.
  6. Raviv, Yaron, 2006. "New Evidence on Price Anomalies in Sequential Auctions: Used Cars in New Jersey," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 301-312, July.
  7. GINSBURGH, Victor, . "Absentee bidders and the declining price anomaly in wine auctions," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1364, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Archishman Chakraborty & Nandini Gupta & Rick Harbaugh, 2002. "Seller Cheap Talk in Common Value Auctions," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-30, Claremont Colleges.
  9. Donald B. Hausch, 1986. "Multi-Object Auctions: Sequential vs. Simultaneous Sales," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(12), pages 1599-1610, December.
  10. Florencio Lopez-de-Silane, 1996. "Determinants of Privatization Prices," NBER Working Papers 5494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Victor Ginsburgh & Pierre-Michel Menger, 1996. "Economics of the Arts: Selected essays," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/152420, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  13. Bernhardt, Dan & Scoones, David, 1994. "A Note on Sequential Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 653-57, June.
  14. Archishman Chakraborty & Nandini Gupta, 2004. "Ordinal Cheap Talk in Common Value Auctions," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 605, Econometric Society.
  15. Luton, Richard & McAfee, R. Preston, 1986. "Sequential procurement auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 181-195, November.
  16. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  17. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2003. "Ordinal Cheap Talk," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2003-05, Claremont Colleges.
  18. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
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