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Charity Auctions: A Field Experimental Investigation

  • Peter Hans Matthews

    ()

  • Jeffrey Carpenter

    ()

  • Jessica Holmes

    ()

Auctions are a popular way to raise money for charities, but relatively little is known, either theoretically or empirically, about the properties of charity auctions. The small theoretical literature suggests that the all-pay auction should garner more money than winner-pay auctions. We conduct field experiments to test which sealed bid format, first price, second price or all-pay raises the most money. Our experiment suggests that both the all-pay and second price formats are dominated by the first price auction. Our design also allows us to identify differential participation as the source of the difference between existing theory and the field. To conclude, we show that a model of charity auctions augmented by an endogenous participation decision predicts the revenue ordering that we see in the field.

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0417.pdf
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Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0417.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0417
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  1. Laffont, J.J., 1996. "Game Theory and Empirical Economics: The Case of Auction Data," Papers 95.394, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  2. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using Field Experiments to Test Equivalence between Auction Formats: Magic on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1063-1080, December.
  3. ehiel, Philippe & Benny Moldovanu & Ennio Stacchetti, 1994. "How (not) to sell nuclear weapons," Discussion Paper Serie B 288, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. Maxim Engers & Brian McManus, 2007. "Charity Auctions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(3), pages 953-994, 08.
  5. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-86, July.
  6. J. Riley & E. Maskin, 1981. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Working papers 311, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Douglas D. Davis & Laura Razzolini & Robert Reilly & Bart J. Wilson, 2003. "Raising Revenues for Charity: Auctions versus Lotteries," Working Papers 0301, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics.
  8. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  10. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
  11. Samuelson, William F., 1985. "Competitive bidding with entry costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 53-57.
  12. Gadi Fibich & Arieh Gavious & Aner Sela, 2006. "All-pay auctions with risk-averse players," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 583-599, November.
  13. Morgan, John & Sefton, Martin, 2000. "Funding Public Goods with Lotteries: Experimental Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 785-810, October.
  14. Stegeman, Mark, 1996. "Participation Costs and Efficient Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 228-259, October.
  15. Jacob K. Goeree & Emiel Maasland & Sander Onderstal & John L. Turner, 2005. "How (Not) to Raise Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 897-926, August.
  16. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  17. John List & Matti Liski, 2005. "Introduction," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(2), pages 121-121, 06.
  18. Engelbrecht-Wiggans Richard, 1994. "Auctions with Price-Proportional Benefits to Bidders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 339-346, May.
  19. Arthur J.H.C. Schram & Sander Onderstal, 2009. "Bidding To Give: An Experimental Comparison Of Auctions For Charity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 431-457, 05.
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