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Signaling in auctions: experimental evidence

Listed author(s):
  • Olivier Bos
  • Francisco Gomez-Martinez
  • Sander Onderstal
  • Tom Truyts

We study the relative performance of the first-price sealed-bid auction and the second-price sealed-bid auction in a laboratory experiment where bidders can signal information through their bidding behavior to an outside observer. We consider two different information settings: the auctioneer reveals either the identity of the winning bidder only, or she also reveals the winner’s payment to an outside observer. We find that the first-price sealed-bid auction in which the winner’s payment is revealed outperforms the other mechanisms in terms of revenue and efficiency. Our findings may have implications for the design of charity auctions, art auctions, and spectrum auctions.

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File URL: https://lirias.kuleuven.be/bitstream/123456789/585499/1/dps1708.pdf
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Paper provided by KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers Department of Economics with number 585499.

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Date of creation: Jun 2017
Publication status: Published in Discussion paper series, DPS17.08 pages:1-31
Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:585499
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://feb.kuleuven.be/Economics/

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  1. Benjamin R. Mandel, 2009. "Art as an Investment and Conspicuous Consumption Good," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1653-1663, September.
  2. Andreoni, James & Che, Yeon-Koo & Kim, Jinwoo, 2007. "Asymmetric information about rivals' types in standard auctions: An experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 240-259, May.
  3. Marinovic, Ivan, 2014. "Delegated Bidding and the Allocative Effects of Alternative Accounting Rules," Research Papers 3251, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  4. Timothy N. Cason & Karthik N. Kannan & Ralph Siebert, 2011. "An Experimental Study of Information Revelation Policies in Sequential Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(4), pages 667-688, April.
  5. Neugebauer, Tibor & Selten, Reinhard, 2006. "Individual behavior of first-price auctions: The importance of information feedback in computerized experimental markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 183-204, January.
  6. Goeree, Jacob K., 2003. "Bidding for the future: signaling in auctions with an aftermarket," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 345-364, February.
  7. Arthur J.H.C. Schram & Sander Onderstal, 2009. "Bidding To Give: An Experimental Comparison Of Auctions For Charity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 431-457, 05.
  8. Miguel A. Fonseca & Francesco Giovannoni & Miltiadis Makris, 2016. "Auctions with external incentives: Experimental evidence," Discussion Papers 1602, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  9. Bos, Olivier & Truyts, Tom, 2017. "Auctions with Signaling Concerns," MPRA Paper 79181, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Theo Offerman, 2002. "Efficiency in Auctions with Private and Common Values: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 625-643, June.
  11. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1993. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behaviour in First-, Second- and Third-Price Auctions with Varying Numbers of Bidders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(419), pages 868-879, July.
  12. Das Varma, Gopal, 2003. "Bidding for a process innovation under alternative modes of competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 15-37, January.
  13. James Andreoni & B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1607-1636, 09.
  14. Krishna, Vijay, 2009. "Auction Theory," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780123745071.
  15. Tingjun Liu, 2012. "Takeover Bidding with Signaling Incentives," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(2), pages 522-556.
  16. Jeitschko, Thomas D. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2012. "Signaling in deterministic and stochastic settings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 39-55.
  17. Drouvelis, Michalis & Müller, Wieland & Possajennikov, Alex, 2012. "Signaling without a common prior: Results on experimental equilibrium selection," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 102-119.
  18. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2002. "Information disclosure in auctions: an experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 431-444, August.
  19. Brandts, Jordi & Holt, Charles A, 1993. "Adjustment Patterns and Equilibrium Selection in Experimental Signaling Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 22(3), pages 279-302.
  20. Jeffrey Carpenter & Jessica Holmes & PeterHans Matthews, 2008. "Charity auctions: a field experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 92-113, 01.
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