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Strategic Behaviour and Underpricing in Uniform Price Auctions: Evidence from Finnish Treasury Auctions

  • Keloharju, Matti
  • Nyborg, Kjell G
  • Rydqvist, Kristian

We study uniform price auctions using a dataset that includes individual bidders' demand schedules in Finnish Treasury auctions during the period 1992-99. Average underpricing amounts to 0.041% of face value. Theory suggests that underpricing may result from monopsonistic market power. We develop and test robust implications from this theory and find that it has little support in the data. For example, bidders' individual demand functions do not respond to increased competition in the manner predicted by the theory. We also present evidence that the Finnish Treasury acts strategically, taking into account the fact that the auctions are part of a repeated game between the Treasury and the primary dealers. Empirically, the main driver behind bidder behaviour and underpricing is the volatility of bond returns. Since there is no evidence that bidders are risk averse, this suggests that private information and the winner's curse may play an important role in these auctions.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3586.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3586
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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. Matti Keloharju & Markku Malkamäki & Kjell G. Nyborg & Kristian Rydqvist, 2004. "A descriptive analysis of the Finnish treasury bond market 1991–1999," Finance 0405017, EconWPA.
  3. Goldreich, David, 2003. "Underpricing in Discriminatory and Uniform-Price Treasury Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4105, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Cammack, Elizabeth B, 1991. "Evidence on Bidding Strategies and the Information in Treasury Bill Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 100-130, February.
  5. Nyborg, Kjell G. & Sundaresan, Suresh, 1996. "Discriminatory versus uniform Treasury auctions: Evidence from when-issued transactions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 63-104, September.
  6. Umlauf, Steven R., 1993. "An empirical study of the Mexican Treasury bill auction," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 313-340, June.
  7. Kjell G. Nyborg, 2004. "Multiple Unit Auctions and Short Squeezes," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(2), pages 545-580.
  8. Wilson, Robert, 1979. "Auctions of Shares," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 675-89, November.
  9. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
  10. Kremer, Ilan & Nyborg, Kjell G, 2004. "Underpricing and Market Power in Uniform Price Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4363, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Sushil Bikhchandani & Chi-fu Huang, 1993. "The Economics of Treasury Securities Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 117-134, Summer.
  12. Yasushi Hamao & Narasimhan Jegadeesh, 1998. "An Analysis of Bidding in the Japanese Government Bond Auctions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(2), pages 755-772, 04.
  13. Jaime F. Zender & James J.D. Wang, 2002. "Auctioning divisible goods," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 673-705.
  14. Ilan Kremer & Kjell G. Nyborg, 2004. "Divisible-Good Auctions: The Role of Allocation Rules," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 147-159, Spring.
  15. Milgrom, Paul, 1989. "Auctions and Bidding: A Primer," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  16. Goswami, Gautam & Noe, Thomas H & Rebello, Michael J, 1996. "Collusion in Uniform-Price Auctions: Experimental Evidence and Implications for Treasury Auctions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(3), pages 757-85.
  17. Hoidal Bjonnes, Geir, 2001. "Winner's Curse in Discriminatory Price Auctions: Evidence from the Norwegian Treasury Bill Auctions," SIFR Research Report Series 3, Institute for Financial Research.
  18. Kyle, Albert S, 1989. "Informed Speculation with Imperfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 317-55, July.
  19. Kjell G. Nyborg & Kristian Rydqvist & Suresh M. Sundaresan, 2002. "Bidder Behavior in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from Swedish Treasury Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 394-424, April.
  20. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-64.
  21. Kandel, Shmuel & Sarig, Oded & Wohl, Avi, 1999. "The Demand for Stocks: An Analysis of IPO Auctions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(2), pages 227-47.
  22. Wilson, Robert, 1977. "A Bidding Model of Perfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 511-18, October.
  23. Spindt, Paul A. & Stolz, Richard W., 1992. "Are US treasury bills underpriced in the primary market?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 891-908, September.
  24. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F., 2001. "Auctions of divisible goods with endogenous supply," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 29-34, October.
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