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The buyer's option in multi-unit ascending auctions : the case of wine auctions at Drouot


  • Février Philippe
  • Roos William
  • Visser Michael



This paper studies multi-unit ascending (English) auctions with a buyer’s option. The buyer’s option gives the winner of an auction the right to purchase any number of units at the winning price. We develop a theoretical model and derive the optimal strategies for the bidders. The model predicts various behavioral implications (e.g., the winner never exercises the option, the price declines...) that are tested using a unique data set on wine auctions held at the Paris-based auction house Drouot. We also analyze why the buyer’s option is used. Estimating the model in a structural econometric way, and using counterfactual comparisons, we find that the buyer’s option does not affect the seller’s revenue (relative to a system where the units are auctioned sequentially without the option). Drouot, however, saves a lot of time with the option and this effect represents a considerable amount of money. The time saving effect seems thus to be the primary purpose of the buyer’s option.

Suggested Citation

  • Février Philippe & Roos William & Visser Michael, 2004. "The buyer's option in multi-unit ascending auctions : the case of wine auctions at Drouot," Research Unit Working Papers 0409, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  • Handle: RePEc:lea:leawpi:0409

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Brenton & Miriam Manchin, 2003. "Making EU Trade Agreements Work: The Role of Rules of Origin," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(5), pages 755-769, May.
    2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    3. Rod Falvey & Geoff Reed, 1998. "Economic effects of rules of origin," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 134(2), pages 209-229, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ali, Héla Hadj & Lecocq, Sébastien & Visser, Michael, 2010. "The Impact of Gurus: Parker Grades and en primeur Wine Prices," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 22-39, March.
    2. Todd R. Kaplan & Shmuel Zamir, 2014. "Advances in Auctions," Discussion Papers 1405, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    3. Rosato, Antonio, 2014. "Loss Aversion in Sequential Auctions: Endogenous Interdependence, Informational Externalities and the "Afternoon Effect"," MPRA Paper 56824, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Kaplan, Todd R. & Zamir, Shmuel, 2015. "Advances in Auctions," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.

    More about this item


    buyer's option; multi-unit ascending auctions; wine auctions;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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