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Underpricing in Discriminatory and Uniform-Price Treasury Auctions

  • Goldreich, David
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    This Paper compares the new uniform-price US Treasury auctions with the traditional discriminatory mechanism and examines the extent to which the auction mechanisms are responsible for underpricing. Empirically, I find that even for the newer uniform-price auctions, the average price received by the Treasury is less than the price of the same securities in the concurrent secondary market, although this underpricing is reduced by half relative to the older mechanism. The auctions are modeled in a multi-unit common-value setting with a winner’s curse problem. Underpricing results in equilibrium for both auction formats, although to a greater degree for the discriminatory auction. In the context of the model, the equilibrium level of underpricing in an individual auction can be predicted from the summary statistics released by the Treasury after each auction. Empirical results show that the magnitude of underpricing in the auctions, and the cross-sectional variation in underpricing, is consistent with the model.

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    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4105.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4105
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    1. 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.
    2. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
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    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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    8. V.V. Chari & Robert J. Weber, 1992. "How the U.S. Treasury should auction its debt," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 3-12.
    9. Ilan Kremer, 2004. "Underpricing and Market Power in Uniform Price Auctions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(3), pages 849-877.
    10. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "The law of large numbers with a continuum of IID random variables," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-25, February.
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    12. Chatterjea, Arkadev & Jarrow, Robert A., 1998. "Market Manipulation, Price Bubbles, and a Model of the U.S. Treasury Securities Auction Market," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(02), pages 255-289, June.
    13. 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.
    14. Tenorio, Rafael, 1993. "Revenue Equivalence and Bidding Behavior in a Multi-unit Auction Market: An Empirical Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 302-14, May.
    15. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1995. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpdr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 22 Jul 2002.
    16. 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.
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