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A Note on Revenue Effects of Asymmetry in Private-Value Auctions

Listed author(s):
  • Todd R. Kaplan

    (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)

  • Shmuel Zamir

    (CNRS-EUREQua at Universite Paris1, LEI/CREST, France and the Hebrew University, Israel.)

We formulate a way to study whether the asymmetry of buyers (in the sense of having different prior probability distributions of valuations) is helpful to the seller in private-value auctions (asked first by Cantillon [2001]). In our proposed formulation, this question corresponds to two important questions previously asked: Does a first-price auction have higher revenue than a second-price auction when buyers have asymmetric distributions (asked by Maskin and Riley[2000])? And does a seller enhance revenue by releasing information (asked by Milgrom and Weber[1982])? This is shown by constructing two Harsanyi games of incomplete information each having the same ex-ante distribution of valuations but in one beliefs are symmetric while in the other beliefs are sometimes asymmetric. Our main result is that answers to all three questions coincide when values are independent and are related when values are affiliated.

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Paper provided by Exeter University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0110.

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Date of creation: 2001
Handle: RePEc:exe:wpaper:0110
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  1. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 413-438.
  2. Cantillon, Estelle, 2008. "The effect of bidders' asymmetries on expected revenue in auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-25, January.
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