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Discriminatory versus uniform-price auctions


  • Zoltán Monostori

    () (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary))


The purpose of this paper is to compare the two auction techniques (discriminatory and uniform-price auctions) most commonly used for the sale of securities. Literature tends to analyze methods from the aspect of the expected revenue from the auction. Theoretical models arrive at different rankings for expected revenue; however, they do reveal the relationship between the bids submitted and the auction technique. These results are confirmed both by ‘laboratory’ experiments and the empirical evidence of real-world auctions. The latter may also provide a robust answer to the question of expected revenue; the uniform-price format coming out as the more beneficial for the Treasury. Still, at present the global majority of issuers of government bonds use the discriminatory-price format and central bank instruments also tend to be sold in this format. This is because issuers may have considerations other than expected revenue.

Suggested Citation

  • Zoltán Monostori, 2014. "Discriminatory versus uniform-price auctions," MNB Occasional Papers 2014/111, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
  • Handle: RePEc:mnb:opaper:2014/111

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Szatmári, Alexandra, 1996. "Aukciók, avagy a képbe kerül, ha a Louvre a képbe kerül?," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(4), pages 303-314.
    2. Jaime F. Zender & James J.D. Wang, 2002. "Auctioning divisible goods," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 19(4), pages 673-705.
    3. Robert Wilson, 1979. "Auctions of Shares," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 675-689.
    4. Tenorio, Rafael, 1993. "Revenue Equivalence and Bidding Behavior in a Multi-unit Auction Market: An Empirical Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 302-314, May.
    5. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, March.
    6. Umlauf, Steven R., 1993. "An empirical study of the Mexican Treasury bill auction," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 313-340, June.
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    More about this item


    auction; central bank auctions; treasury auctions; discriminatory auctions; uniform-price auctions;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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