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Price Formation in a Sequential Selling Mechanism

  • Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel
  • Sabine Kroger

This paper analyzes the trade of an indivisible good within a two-stage mechanism, where a seller first negotiates with one potential buyer about the price of the good. If the negotiation fails to produce a sale, a second-price sealed-bid auction with an additional buyer is conducted. The theoretical model predicts that with risk neutral agents all sales take place in the auction rendering the negotiation prior to the auction obsolete. An experimental test of the model provides evidence that average prices and profits are quite precisely predicted by the theoretical benchmark. However, a significant large amount of sales occurs already during the negotiation stage. We show that risk preferences can theoretically account for the existence of sales during the negotiation stage, improve the fit for buyers' behavior, but is not sufficient to explain sellers' decisions. We discuss other behavioral explanations that could account for the observed deviations.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0530.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0530
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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. Anderson, Steve & Friedman, Daniel & Milam, Garrett & Singh, Nirvikar, 2004. "Seller Strategies on eBay," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt43z3965f, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  3. Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2002. "On the impact of low-balling: Experimental results in asymmetric auctions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 69-89.
  4. John Wooders & Stanley S. Reynolds, 2004. "Auctions with a Buy Price," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 130, Econometric Society.
  5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  6. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Risk averse behavior in generalized matching pennies games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, October.
  7. Guth, Werner & Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Wolfstetter, Elmar, 2005. "Bidding behavior in asymmetric auctions: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1891-1913, October.
  8. René Kirkegaard, 2006. "A short proof of the Bulow-Klemperer auctions vs. negotiations result," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 449-452, 06.
  9. Chen, Kay-Yut & Plott, Charles R., 1998. "Nonlinear Behavior in Sealed Bid First Price Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 34-78, October.
  10. Timothy Mathews, 2004. "The Impact of Discounting on an Auction with a Buyout Option: a Theoretical Analysis Motivated by eBay’s Buy-It-Now Feature," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 25-52, 01.
  11. Kagel, J.H. & Levin, D., 1988. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behavior In First, Second And Third-Price Auctions With Varying Numbers Of Bidders," Papers 13, Houston - Department of Economics.
  12. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 247-272, May.
  13. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  14. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  15. Timothy Mathews & Brett Katzman, 2006. "The role of varying risk attitudes in an auction with a buyout option," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 597-613, 04.
  16. Budish, Eric B. & Takeyama, Lisa N., 2001. "Buy prices in online auctions: irrationality on the internet?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 325-333, September.
  17. Thomas Palfrey, 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private Value Auctions," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000089, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Hidvegi, Zoltan & Wang, Wenli & Whinston, Andrew B., 2006. "Buy-price English auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 31-56, July.
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