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Common Values, Unobserved Heterogeneity, and Endogenous Entry in U.S. Offshore Oil Lease Auctions

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In a "common values" environment, some market participants have private information relevant to others' assessments of their own valuations or costs. Economic theory shows that this type of informational asymmetry can have important implications for market performance and market design. Yet even for the classic example of an oil lease auction, formal evidence on the presence and strength of common values has been limited by the problem of auction-level unobserved heterogeneity that is likely to affect both participation in an auction and bidders' willingness to pay. Here we develop an empirical approach for first-price sealed bid auctions with affiliated values, unobserved heterogeneity, and endogenous bidder entry. We show that important features of the model are nonparametrically identified and apply a semiparametric estimation approach to data from U.S. offshore oil and gas lease auctions. Our empirical results show that common values, affiliated private information, and unobserved heterogeneity - three distinct phenomena with different implications for policy and empirical work - are all present. Failing to account for unobserved heterogeneity obscures the empirical evidence of common values. We examine the implications of our estimates for the classic revenue ranking of sealed bid auction designs, and for the interaction between affiliation, the winner's curse, and the number of bidders in determining the aggressiveness of bidding and seller revenue.

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  • Giovanni Compiani & Philip A. Haile & Marcelo Sant'Anna, 2018. "Common Values, Unobserved Heterogeneity, and Endogenous Entry in U.S. Offshore Oil Lease Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2137R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jun 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:2137r
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul A. Brehm & Eric Lewis, 2021. "Information asymmetry, trade, and drilling: evidence from an oil lease lottery," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 52(3), pages 496-514, September.
    2. Philip A Haile & Yuichi Kitamura, 2019. "Unobserved heterogeneity in auctions," The Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 22(1), pages 1-19.
    3. Gimenes, Nathalie & Guerre, Emmanuel, 2020. "Nonparametric identification of an interdependent value model with buyer covariates from first-price auction bids," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 219(1), pages 1-18.
    4. Janssen, Aljoscha, 2022. "Innovation Begets Innovation and Concentration: The Case of Upstream Oil & Gas in the North Sea," Working Paper Series 1431, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. Michele Fioretti & Alessandro Iaria & Aljoscha Janssen & Cl'ement Mazet-Sonilhac & Robert K. Perrons, 2022. "Innovation Begets Innovation and Concentration: The Case of Upstream Oil & Gas in the North Sea," Papers 2205.13186, arXiv.org, revised May 2022.
    6. Grundl, Serafin & Zhu, Yu, 2019. "Identification and estimation of risk aversion in first-price auctions with unobserved auction heterogeneity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 210(2), pages 363-378.
    7. Nathalie Gimenes & Emmanuel Guerre, 2019. "Nonparametric identification of an interdependent value model with buyer covariates from first-price auction bids," Papers 1910.10646, arXiv.org.
    8. Bryan K. Bollinger & Wesley R. Hartmann, 2020. "Information vs. Automation and Implications for Dynamic Pricing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(1), pages 290-314, January.
    9. Cristián Hernández & Daniel Quint & Christopher Turansick, 2020. "Estimation in English auctions with unobserved heterogeneity," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 51(3), pages 868-904, September.
    10. Rodrigo Carril & Andres Gonzalez-Lira & Michael S. Walker, 2022. "Competition under incomplete contracts and the design of procurement policies," Economics Working Papers 1824, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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