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The auctions of Swiss government bonds: should the Treasury price discriminate or not?

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  • Daniel Heller
  • Yvan Lengwiler

Abstract

Ever since Friedman's (1960) contribution, there has been an ongoing controversy about whether the Treasury should auction off its government debt with a discriminatory or with a uniform price format. Many industrialized countries, the United States or Germany, for instance, use discriminatory auctions, while Switzerland applies to uniform price rule. Using recent contributions to multi-unit auction theory, we analyze data on the bids submitted to Swiss Treasury bond auctions over the last three years. We then construct hypothetical bid functions that would occur under price discrimination. Based on these bid functions, we determine which auction format minimizes the government's costs of financing its debt.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Heller & Yvan Lengwiler, 1998. "The auctions of Swiss government bonds: should the Treasury price discriminate or not?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 1998.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1998-11
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nautz, D., 1995. "Optimal bidding in multi-unit auctions with many bidders," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 301-306, June.
    2. V. V. Chari & Robert J. Weber, 1992. "How the U.S. Treasury should auction its debt," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 16(Fall), pages 3-12.
    3. Robert Wilson, 1979. "Auctions of Shares," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 675-689.
    4. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1981. "Allocation Mechanisms and the Design of Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1477-1499, November.
    5. Mark Deacon & Andrew Derry, 1994. "Deriving Estimates of Inflation Expectations from the Prices of UK Government Bonds," Bank of England working papers 23, Bank of England.
    6. Nyborg, Kjell G. & Sundaresan, Suresh, 1996. "Discriminatory versus uniform Treasury auctions: Evidence from when-issued transactions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 63-104, September.
    7. Noussair, Charles, 1995. "Equilibria in a Multi-object Uniform Price Sealed Bid Auction with Multi-unit Demands," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 5(2), pages 337-351, March.
    8. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-764.
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    Cited by:

    1. Keunkwan Ryu & Gyung-Rok Kim & Seonghwan Oh, 2004. "Discriminatory vs Uniform Price Auction: Auction Revenue," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 539, Econometric Society.
    2. Breitung, Jorg & Nautz, Dieter, 2001. "The empirical performance of the ECB's repo auctions: evidence from aggregated and individual bidding data," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 839-856, November.
    3. Sunnevåg, Kjell J., 2001. "Auction design for the allocation of multiple units of a homogenous good: Theoretical background and practical experience," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt6wh704p7, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    4. Raphaële Préget, 2004. "Adjudications des valeurs du Trésor," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 18(4), pages 63-110.
    5. Ehrhart, Karl-Martin, 2001. "European Central Bank operations: experimental investigation of the fixed rate tender," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 871-893, November.
    6. Walter Orellana Rocha & Bernardo X. Fernández Tellería & Vladimir Fernández Quiroga, 2006. "Subasta electrónica interactiva y subasta a sobre cerrado: Un análisis comparativo de los resultados en Bolivia," Revista de Análisis del BCB, Banco Central de Bolivia, vol. 9(1), pages 65-113, December.
    7. Sara Castellanos, 2001. "Mexican treasury securities primary auctions," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000025, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. Niedermayer, Andreas & Shneyerov, Artyom & Xu, Pia, 2015. "Foreclosure Auctions," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 522, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    9. Rodolfo Guerrero & José Luis Negrín, 2006. "Eficiencia del sistema bancario mexicano 1997-2004: una estimación dinámica," Monetaria, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, CEMLA, vol. 0(3), pages 235-259, julio-sep.
    10. Rhee, S. Ghon, 2000. "Further Reforms after the "BIG BANG": The Japanese Government Bond Market," CEI Working Paper Series 2000-3, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    11. Skully, David W., 1999. "The Economics Of Trq Administration," Working Papers 14584, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
    12. Sara Castellanos, 2001. "A New Empirical Study of the Mexican Treasury Securities Primary Auctions: Is there more underpricing?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000206, David K. Levine.
    13. Paul Castillo & Carlos Montoro & Vicente Tuesta, 2006. "Estimación de la tasa natural de interés para la economía peruana," Monetaria, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, CEMLA, vol. 0(3), pages 261-298, julio-sep.

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    Keywords

    Government securities; Auctions;

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