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Should Auctions be Transparent?

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Abstract

We investigate the role of market transparency in repeated first-price auctions. We consider a setting with private and independent values across bidders. The values are assumed to be perfectly persistent over time. We analyze the first-price auction under three distinct disclosure regimes regarding the bid and award history. Of particular interest is the minimal disclosure regime, in which each bidder only learns privately whether he won or lost the auction at the end of each round. In equilibrium, the winner of the initial auction lowers his bids over time, while losers keep their bids constant, in anticipation of the winner’s lower future bids. This equilibrium is efficient, and all information is eventually revealed. Importantly, this disclosure regime does not give rise to pooling equilibria. We contrast the minimal disclosure setting with the case in which all bids are public, and the case in which only the winner’s bids are public. In these settings, an inefficient pooling equilibrium with low revenues always exists with a sufficiently large number of bidders.

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Bergemann & Johannes Horner, 2010. "Should Auctions be Transparent?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1764, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1764
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blume, Andreas, 2003. "Bertrand without fudge," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 167-168, February.
    2. Kleijnen, J.P.C. & van Schaik, F.D.J., 2007. "Sealed-Bid Auction of Dutch Mussels : Statistical Analysis," Discussion Paper 2007-83, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. Jacob Rubinstein & Elmar Wolfstetter & Michael Landsberger & Shmuel Zamir, 2001. "First-price auctions when the ranking of valuations is common knowledge," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 6(3), pages 461-480.
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    6. Kaya, Ayça & Liu, Qingmin, 2015. "Transparency and price formation," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(2), May.
    7. Chwe, Michael Suk-Young, 1989. "The discrete bid first auction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 303-306, December.
    8. Dizdar, Deniz & Gershkov, Alex & Moldovanu, Benny, 2011. "Revenue maximization in the dynamic knapsack problem," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(2), May.
    9. Charles J. Thomas, 2010. "INFORMATION REVELATION AND BUYER PROFITS IN REPEATED PROCUREMENT COMPETITION -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 79-105, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bergemann, Dirk & Pavan, Alessandro, 2015. "Introduction to Symposium on Dynamic Contracts and Mechanism Design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PB), pages 679-701.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    First price auction; Repeated auction; Private bids; Information revelation;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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