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Multiple Equilibria in Asymmetric First-Price Auctions

  • Todd R. Kaplan
  • Shmuel Zamir

Maskin and Riley (2003) and Lebrun (2006) prove that the Bayes-Nash equilibrium of first-price auctions is unique. This uniqueness requires the assumption that a buyer never bids above his value. We demonstrate that, in asymmetric first-price auctions (with or without a minimum bid), the relaxation of this assumption results in additional equilibria that are "substantial." Although in each of these additional equilibria no buyer wins with a bids above his value, the allocation of the object and the selling price may vary among the equilibria. Furthermore, we show that such phenomena can only occur under asymmetry in the distributions of values.

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Paper provided by The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem in its series Discussion Paper Series with number dp591.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp591
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  1. Mathias Erlei, 2002. "Some forgotten equilibria of the Bertrand duopoly!?," TUC Working Papers in Economics 0004, Abteilung für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Clausthal (Department of Economics, Technical University Clausthal).
  2. Blume, Andreas & Heidhues, Paul & Lafky, Jonathan & Münster, Johannes & Zhang, Meixia, 2006. "All Nash Equilibria of the Multi-Unit Vickrey Auction," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 116, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Blume, Andreas & Heidhues, Paul, 2004. "All equilibria of the Vickrey auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 170-177, January.
  4. Binmore, Ken, 1999. "Why Experiment in Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F16-24, February.
  5. Lebrun, Bernard, 2006. "Uniqueness of the equilibrium in first-price auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 131-151, April.
  6. Todd R. Kaplan & David Wettstein, 2000. "The possibility of mixed-strategy equilibria with constant-returns-to-scale technology under Bertrand competition," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 65-71.
  7. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 2003. "Uniqueness of Equilibrium in Sealed High-Bid Auctions," Economics Working Papers 0031, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  8. McAdams, David, 2007. "Uniqueness in symmetric first-price auctions with affiliation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 144-166, September.
  9. Todd Kaplan & Shmuel Zamir, 2012. "Asymmetric first-price auctions with uniform distributions: analytic solutions to the general case," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 269-302, June.
  10. Blume, Andreas & Heidhues, Paul & Lafky, Jonathan & Münster, Johannes & Zhang, Meixia, 2009. "All equilibria of the multi-unit Vickrey auction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 729-741, July.
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