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Individual Behaavior and Bidding Heterogeneity in Sealed Bid Auctions Where the Number of Bidders is Unknown

  • R. Mark Isaac

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

  • Svetlana Pevnitskaya

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

  • Kurt Schnier

    ()

    (University of Rhode Island)

This paper analyzes individual bidding data from a series of first price (FP) and second price (SP) sealed-bid auctions in which the number of bidders is unknown. In SP auctions we find a substantial amount of coincidence with theory. We observe systematic deviations from risk neutral bidding in FP auctions and show theoretically that these deviations are consistent with risk averse preferences. We find essentially no heterogeneity in bidding in SP auctions where risk preferences and the number of bidders do not affect the optimal bid, while in the FP auctions heterogeneity in bidding persists and increases with experience. We conclude that heterogeneity in bidding in FP auctions is consistent with heterogeneity in risk preferences, the attempt to count the number of bidders in the auction, and bidder specific noise. (JEL D44, C91)

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File URL: ftp://econpapers.fsu.edu/RePEc/fsu/wpaper/wp2008_07_02.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008-03
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Florida State University in its series Working Papers with number wp2008_07_02.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fsu:wpaper:wp2008_07_02
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  1. Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel & Timothy C. Salmon, 2004. "Bidder Preferences among Auction Institutions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 223-236, April.
  2. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Pevnitskaya, Svetlana, 2008. "Endogenous entry and self-selection in private value auctions: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 731-747, June.
  3. Matthews, Steven, 1987. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Point of View," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 633-46, May.
  4. Louis Putterman & Christopher M. Anderson, 2003. "Do Non-strategic Sanctions Obey the Law of Demand? The Demand for Punishment in the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Working Papers 2003-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with a stochastic number of bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, October.
  6. El-Gamal, Mahmoud A. & Grether, David M., 1995. "Are People Bayesian? Uncovering Behavioral Strategies," Working Papers 919, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Discussion Papers 447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Isaac, R Mark & James, Duncan, 2000. " Just Who Are You Calling Risk Averse?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 177-87, March.
  9. Douglas Dyer & John H. Kagel & Dan Levin, 1989. "Resolving Uncertainty about the Number of Bidders in Independent Private-Value Auctions: An Experimental Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 268-279, Summer.
  10. R. Mark Isaac & Kurt Schnier, 2005. "Silent Auctions in the Field and in the Laboratory," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(4), pages 715-733, October.
  11. Harstad, Ronald M. & Kagel, John H. & Levin, Dan, 1990. "Equilibrium bid functions for auctions with an uncertain number of bidders," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 35-40, May.
  12. Levin, Dan & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2004. "Auctions with uncertain numbers of bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 229-251, October.
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