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An Experimental Test of Precautionary Bidding

  • Kocher, Martin G.
  • Pahlke, Julius
  • Trautmann, Stefan T.

Auctions often involve goods exhibiting a common knowledge ex-post risk that is independent of buyers’ private values or their signals regarding common value components. Esö and White (2004) showed theoretically that ex-post risk leads to precautionary bidding for DARA bidders: Agents reduce their bids by more than their appropriate risk premium. Testing precautionary bidding with data from the field seems almost impossible. We conduct experimental first-price auctions that allow us to directly identify the precautionary premium and find clear evidence for precautionary bidding. Bidders are significantly better off when a risky object rather than an equally valued sure object is auctioned. Our results are robust if we control for potentially confounding decision biases.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 11743.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:11743
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  2. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2007. "Do workers work more if wages are high? Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00240, The Field Experiments Website.
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  7. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & Elena Katok, 2007. "Regret in auctions: theory and evidence," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 81-101, October.
  8. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1988. "Theory and Individual Behavior of First-Price Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 61-99, March.
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  11. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
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  13. Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1987. ""Preference Reversal' and the Observability of Preferences by Experimental Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 675-85, May.
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