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The Effect of Bidders' Asymmetries on Expected Revenue in Auctions

Bidders' asymmetries are widespread in auction markets. Yet, their impact on behavior and, ultimately, revenue and profits is still not well understood. In this paper, I define a natural benchmark auction environment to which to compare any private value auction with asymmetrically distributed valuations. I show that the expected revenue from the benchmark auction always dominates that from the asymmetric auction, both in the first price auction and the second price auction. These results formalize and make transparent the idea that competition is reduced by bidders' asymmetries. The paper also contributes to a better understanding of competition and the nature of rents in auction markets. Anonymity of the allocation mechanism seems to be an important factor.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d12b/d1279.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1279.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Games and Economic Behavior (2008), 62: 1-25
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1279
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Bernard Lebrun, 1996. "Existence of an equilibrium in first price auctions (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 421-443.
  2. Dalkir, Serdar & Logan, John W. & Masson, Robert T., 2000. "Mergers in symmetric and asymmetric noncooperative auction markets: the effects on prices and efficiency," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 383-413, April.
  3. Mailath, George J. & Zemsky, Peter, 1991. "Collusion in second price auctions with heterogeneous bidders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 467-486, November.
  4. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-89, July.
  5. Leandro Arozamena & Estelle Cantillon, 2000. "Investment Incentives in Procurement Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1276, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2003. "Uniqueness of equilibrium in sealed high-bid auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 395-409, November.
  7. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1999. "Ohio School Milk Markets: An Analysis of Bidding," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 263-288, Summer.
  8. Marshall Robert C. & Meurer Michael J. & Richard Jean-Francois & Stromquist Walter, 1994. "Numerical Analysis of Asymmetric First Price Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 193-220, September.
  9. Plum, M, 1992. "Characterization and Computation of Nash-Equilibria for Auctions with Incomplete Information," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 393-418.
  10. Philip J. Reny & Shmuel Zamir, 2002. "On the Existence of Pure Strategy Monotone Equilibria in Asymmetric First-Price Auctions," Discussion Paper Series dp292, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  11. Lebrun, Bernard, 1999. "First Price Auctions in the Asymmetric N Bidder Case," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 125-42, February.
  12. Lebrun, Bernard, 1996. "Existence of an Equilibrium in First Price Auctions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 421-43, April.
  13. Waehrer, Keith, 1999. "Asymmetric private values auctions with application to joint bidding and mergers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 437-452, April.
  14. Graham, Daniel A & Marshall, Robert C, 1987. "Collusive Bidder Behavior at Single-Object Second-Price and English Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1217-39, December.
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