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Identification in auctions with selective entry

  • Matthew Gentry


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and London School of Economics)

  • Tong Li

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Vanderbilt University)

Registered author(s):

    This paper considers nonparametric identification of a two-stage entry and bidding model for auctions which we call the Affiliated-Signal (AS) model. This model assumes that potential bidders have private values, observe imperfect signals of their true values prior to entry, and choose whether to undertake a costly entry process. The AS model is a theoretically appealing candidate for the structural analysis of auctions with entry: it accommodates a wide range of entry processes, in particular nesting the Levin and Smith (1994) and Samuelson (1985) models as special cases. To date, however, the model's identification properties have not been well understood. We establish identifcation results for the general AS model, using variation in factors affecting entry behaviour (such as potential competition or entry costs) to construct identified bounds on model fundamentals. If available entry variation is continuous, the AS model may be point identified; otherwise, it will be partially identified. We derive constructive identification results in both cases, which can readily be refined to produce the sharp identified set. We also consider policy analysis in environments where only partial identifcation is possible, and derive identified bounds on expected seller revenue corresponding to a wide range of counterfactual policies while accounting for endogenous and arbitrarily selective entry. Finally we establish that our core results extend to environments with asymmetric bidders and nonseparable auction-level unobserved heterogeneity.

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    Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP38/12.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:38/12
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    1. Ye, Lixin, 2007. "Indicative bidding and a theory of two-stage auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 181-207, January.
    2. Fan, Yanqin & Park, Sang Soo, 2009. "Partial identification of the distribution of treatment effects and its confidence sets," MPRA Paper 37148, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin & Enrique Seira, 2011. "Comparing open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Evidence from Timber Auctions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 207-257.
    4. Thierry Magnac & Eric Maurin, 2008. "Partial Identification in Monotone Binary Models: Discrete Regressors and Interval Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 835-864.
    5. Xun Tang, 2011. "Bounds on revenue distributions in counterfactual auctions with reserve prices," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(1), pages 175-203, 03.
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    9. Elie Tamer, 2003. "Incomplete Simultaneous Discrete Response Model with Multiple Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 147-165, January.
    10. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Molinari, Francesca, 2005. "Partial Identification of Probability Distributions with Misclassified Data," Working Papers 05-10, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    12. Marmer, Vadim & Shneyerov, Artyom & Xu, Pai, 2013. "What model for entry in first-price auctions? A nonparametric approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 176(1), pages 46-58.
    13. Li, Tong & Zheng, Xiaoyong, 2012. "Information acquisition and/or bid preparation: A structural analysis of entry and bidding in timber sale auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(1), pages 29-46.
    14. Matthew Shum, 2000. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1598, Econometric Society.
    15. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
    16. Samuelson, William F., 1985. "Competitive bidding with entry costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 53-57.
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