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Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions


  • Rob Porter


This paper studies federal auctions for wildcat leases on the Outer Continental Shelf from 1954 to 1970. These are leases where bidders privately acquire (at some cost) noisy, but equally informative, signals about the amount of oil and gas that may be present. We develop a test of equilibrium bidding in a common values model that is implemented using data on bids and ex post values. We compute bid markups and rents under the alternative hypotheses of private and common values and find that the data are more consistent with the latter hypothesis. Finally, we use data on tract location and ex post values to test the comparative static prediction in common value auctions that bidders may bid less aggressively when they expect more competition.
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Suggested Citation

  • Rob Porter, 1999. "Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions," Working papers 99-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:99-19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
    2. Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H & Wilson, Charles A, 1994. "Auctions for Oil and Gas Leases with an Informed Bidder and a Random Reservation Price," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1415-1444, November.
    3. McAfee, R Preston & Vincent, Daniel, 1992. "Updating the Reserve Price in Common-Value Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 512-518, May.
    4. Porter, Robert H, 1995. "The Role of Information in U.S. Offshore Oil and Gas Lease Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-27, January.
    5. Li, Tong & Perrigne, Isabelle & Vuong, Quang, 2000. "Conditionally independent private information in OCS wildcat auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 129-161, September.
    6. Baldwin, Laura H & Marshall, Robert C & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1997. "Bidder Collusion at Forest Service Timber Sales," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 657-699, August.
    7. Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H, 1988. "An Empirical Study of an Auction with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 865-883, December.
    8. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Vuong, Quang, 1996. "Structural Analysis of Auction Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 414-420, May.
    9. Klemperer, Paul, 1998. "Auctions with almost common values: The 'Wallet Game' and its applications," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 757-769, May.
    10. Robert Wilson, 1977. "A Bidding Model of Perfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 511-518.
    11. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Ossard, Herve & Vuong, Quang, 1995. "Econometrics of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 953-980, July.
    12. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    13. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortacsu, 2000. "Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1927, Econometric Society.
    14. Matt Shum & Phil Haile & Han Hong, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values in First-Price Auctions," Economics Working Paper Archive 501, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    15. repec:adr:anecst:y:1994:i:34:p:05 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Matthew Shum, 2000. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1598, Econometric Society.
    17. Guerre, E. & Perrigne, I. & Vuong, Q., 1995. "Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Papers 9504, Southern California - Department of Economics.
    18. Donald, Stephen G & Paarsch, Harry J, 1993. "Piecewise Pseudo-maximum Likelihood Estimation in Empirical Models of Auctions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 121-148, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design


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