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Synergies and price trends in sequential auctions

  • Menezes, Flavio Marques
  • Monteiro, P. K.

In this paper we consider sequential auctions where an individual’s value for a bundle of objects is either greater than the sum of the values for the objects separately (positive synergy) or less than the sum (negative synergy). We show that the existence of positive synergies implies declining expected prices. When synergies are negative, expected prices are increasing. There are several corollaries. First, the seller is indi¤erent between selling the objects simultaneously as a bundle or sequentially when synergies are positive. Second, when synergies are negative, the expected revenue generated by the simultaneous auction can be larger or smaller than the expected revenue generated by the sequential auction. In addition, in the presence of positive synergies, an option to buy the additional object at the price of the …rst object is never exercised in the symmetric equilibrium and the seller’s revenue is unchanged. Under negative synergies, in contrast, if there is an equilibrium where the option is never exercised, then equilibrium prices may either increase or decrease and, therefore, the net e¤ect on the seller’s revenue of the introduction of an option is ambiguous. Finally, we examine two special cases with asymmetric players. In the …rst case, players have distinct synergies. In this example, even if one player has positive synergies and the other has negative synergies, it is still possible for expected prices to decline. In the second case, one player wants two objects and the remaining players want one object each. For this example, we show that expected prices may not necessarily decrease as predicted by Branco (1997). The reason is that players with singleunit demand will generally bid less than their true valuations in the …rst period. Therefore, there are two opposing forces; the reduction in the bid of the player with multiple-demand in the last auction and less aggressive bidding in the …rst auction by the players with single-unit demand.

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Paper provided by FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) in its series Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) with number 360.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fgv:epgewp:360
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  1. Vijay Krishna & Robert Rosenthal, 1995. "Simultaneous Auctions with Synergies," Game Theory and Information 9503004, EconWPA.
  2. Fl. Menezes & P.K.Monteiro, 1994. "Sequential Asymmetric Auctions With Endogenous Participation," Microeconomics 9402001, EconWPA, revised 09 Jun 1994.
  3. Branco, Fernando, 1997. "Sequential auctions with synergies: An example," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 159-163, February.
  4. Vanderporten, Bruce, 1992. "Timing of Bids at Pooled Real Estate Auctions," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 255-67, September.
  5. Jones, C. & Menezes, F. & Vella, F., 1996. "Auctions Price Anomalies: Evidence from Wool Auctions in Australia," Papers 303, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  6. Vanderporten, Bruce, 1992. "Strategic behavior in pooled condominium auctions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 123-137, January.
  7. Ashenfelter, O. & Genesove, D., 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in Real Estate Auctions," Working papers 92-2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. McAfee R. Preston & Vincent Daniel, 1993. "The Declining Price Anomaly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-212, June.
  9. Gandal, Neil, 1997. "Sequential Auctions of Interdependent Objects: Israeli Cable Television Licenses," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 227-44, September.
  10. Jane Black & David de Meza, 1992. "Systematic Price Differences Between Successive Auctionsare no Anomaly," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(4), pages 607-628, December.
  11. Thomas D. Jeitschko & Elmar Wolfstetter, 2002. "Scale Economies and the Dynamics of Recurring Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 403-414, July.
  12. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  13. Bernhardt, Dan & Scoones, David, 1993. "A Note on Sequential Auctions," Working Papers 829, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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