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Seller Cheap Talk in Common Value Auctions

  • Archishman Chakraborty

    (Baruch College CUNY)

  • Nandini Gupta

    (William Davidson Institute, University of Michigan)

  • Rick Harbaugh

    (Claremont McKenna College)

Sellers benefit on average from revealing information about their goods to buyers, but the incentive to exaggerate undermines the credibility of seller statements. When multiple goods are being auctioned, we show that ordinal cheap talk, which reveals a complete or partial ordering of the different goods by value, can be credible. Ordinal statements are not susceptible to exaggeration because they simultaneously reveal favorable information about some goods and unfavorable information about other goods. Any informative ordering increases revenues in accordance with the linkage principle, and the complete ordering is asymptotically revenue-equivalent to full revelation as the number of goods becomes large. These results provide a new explanation in addition to bundling, versioning, and complementarities for how a seller benefits from the sale of multiple goods.

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Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2002-30.

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Date of creation: Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2002-30
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  1. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  2. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Jeroen M. Swinkels, 1996. "Efficiency and Information Aggregation in Auctions," Discussion Papers 1168, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1989. "Cheap talk can matter in bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 221-237, June.
  4. Bali, Valentina & Jackson, Matthew, 2002. "Asymptotic Revenue Equivalence in Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 161-176, September.
  5. S.J. Rassenti & V.L. Smith & R.L. Bulfin, 1982. "A Combinatorial Auction Mechanism for Airport Time Slot Allocation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 402-417, Autumn.
  6. Barry Nalebuff, 2000. "Competing Against Bundles," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm157, Yale School of Management.
  7. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  8. Varian, Hal R., 1989. "Price discrimination," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 597-654 Elsevier.
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