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Synergies and Price Trends in Sequential Auctions

  • Menezes, Flavio Marques
  • Monteiro, Paulo Klinger

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 in declining expected prices. There are several corollaries. First, the seller is indifferent between selling the objects simultaneously as a bundle or sequentially when synergies are positive. 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 first object is never exercised in the symmetric equilibrium and the seller's revenue in unchanged. Finally, we examine two special cases with asymmetric players. In the first 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 single-unit demand will generally bid less than their true valuations in the first 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 first 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," Papers 0056, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  2. Bernhardt, Dan & Scoones, David, 1993. "A Note on Sequential Auctions," Working Papers 829, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. Ashenfelter, O. & Genesove, D., 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in real Estate Auctions," Papers 128, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  4. Chris Jones & Flavio Menezes & Francis Vella, 2004. "Auction Price Anomalies: Evidence from Wool Auctions in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(250), pages 271-288, 09.
  5. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  6. Flavio Menezes & Paulo Monteiro, 1997. "Sequential asymmetric auctions with endogenous participation," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 187-202, September.
  7. Black, Jane & De Meza, David, 1992. "Systematic Price Differences between Successive Auctions Are No Anomaly," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(4), pages 607-28, Winter.
  8. 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.
  9. Vanderporten, Bruce, 1992. "Strategic behavior in pooled condominium auctions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 123-137, January.
  10. 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.
  11. Branco, Fernando, 1997. "Sequential auctions with synergies: An example," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 159-163, February.
  12. McAfee R. Preston & Vincent Daniel, 1993. "The Declining Price Anomaly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 191-212, June.
  13. 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.
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