IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Bidding in common value auctions: How the commercial construction industry corrects for the winner's curse


  • Douglas Dyer
  • John Kagel


Experienced construction industry executives suffer from a winner's curse in laboratory common value auction markets (Dyer et al. [Dyer, D., J. H. Kagel, D. Levin. 1989. A comparison of naive and experienced bidders in common value offer auctions: Laboratory analysis. Econom. J. 99 108-115.]). This paper identifies essential differences between field environments and the economic theory underlying the laboratory markets that account for the executives' success in the field and a winner's curse in the lab. These are (1) industry-specific mechanisms which enable contractors to escape the winner's curse even when they bid too low, (2) learned, industry-specific evaluative processes which enable experienced contractors to avoid the winner's curse in the first place, and (3) important private value elements that underlie bidding. Also identified are a number of industry-specific bidding characteristics whose evolution can be explained using modern auction theory. Lessons are drawn regarding the use of experimental methods in economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Dyer & John Kagel, 1996. "Bidding in common value auctions: How the commercial construction industry corrects for the winner's curse," Framed Field Experiments 00144, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00144

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    2. GlennW. Harrison & JohnA. List, 2008. "Naturally Occurring Markets and Exogenous Laboratory Experiments: A Case Study of the Winner's Curse," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 822-843, April.
    3. Levati, Maria Vittoria & Miettinen, Topi & Rai, Birendra, 2011. "Context and interpretation in laboratory experiments: The case of reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 846-856.
    4. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 2000. "Professionals and students in a lobbying experiment: Professional rules of conduct and subject surrogacy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 499-522, December.
    5. Alan Mehlenbacher, 2007. "Multiagent System Platform for Auction Simulations," Department Discussion Papers 0706, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    6. João Adelino Ribeiro & Paulo Jorge Pereira & Elísio Brandão, 2013. "Volume Uncertainty in Construction Projects: a Real Options Approach," CEF.UP Working Papers 1309, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    7. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:55:y:2004:i:8:d:10.1057_palgrave.jors.2601733 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Boone, Audra L. & Harold Mulherin, J., 2008. "Do auctions induce a winner's curse? New evidence from the corporate takeover market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 1-19, July.
    9. Zonna, Davide, 2016. "Sprechi di cibo e tentativi di riduzione. Un caso sperimentale
      [Avoiding food waste. A field experiment]
      ," MPRA Paper 76097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Bosman, Ronald & Kräussl, Roman & Mirgorodskaya, Elizaveta, 2015. "The "tone effect" of news on investor beliefs: An experimental approach," CFS Working Paper Series 522, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    11. Fangcheng Tang & Weizhou Zhong & Shunfeng Song, 2006. "Tenders with Different Risk Preferences in Construction Industry," Working Papers 06-006, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00144. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joe Seidel). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.