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Pay-to-Bid Auctions

  • Brennan C. Platt
  • Joseph Price
  • Henry Tappen

We analyze a new auction format in which bidders pay a fee each time they increase the auction price. Bidding fees are the primary source of revenue for the seller, but produce the same expected revenue as standard auctions. Our model predicts a particular distribution of ending prices, which we test against observed auction data. Our model fits the data well for over three-fourths of routinely auctioned items. The notable exceptions are video game paraphernalia, which show more aggressive bidding and higher expected revenue. By incorporating mild risk-loving preferences in the model, we explain nearly all of the auctions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15695.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Publication status: published as Brennan Platt, Joseph Price, Henry Tappen (2013). Pay-to-Bid Auctions. Forthcoming in Management Science.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15695
Note: TWP
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Kai A. Konrad & Wolfgang Leininger, 2005. "The Generalized Stackelberg Equilibrium of the All-Pay Auction with Complete Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 1609, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:1:p:70-80 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Konrad, Kai A. & Leininger, Wolfgang, 2007. "The generalized Stackelberg equilibrium of the all-pay auction with complete information," Munich Reprints in Economics 22092, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Clark, Derek J & Riis, Christian, 1998. "Competition over More Than One Prize," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 276-89, March.
  5. Isaac, R. Mark & Salmon, Timothy C. & Zillante, Arthur, 2007. "A theory of jump bidding in ascending auctions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 144-164, January.
  6. Gregory, Nathaniel, 1980. "Relative Wealth and Risk Taking: A Short Note on the Friedman-Savage Utility Function," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(6), pages 1226-30, December.
  7. Kanto, Antti J. & Rosenqvist, Gunnar & Suvas, Arto, 1992. "On utility function estimation of racetrack bettors," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 491-498, September.
  8. Baye, M. & Kovenock, D. & de Vries, C., 1990. "The All-Pay Auction with Complete Information," Discussion Paper 1990-51, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Krishna, Vijay & Morgan, John, 1997. "An Analysis of the War of Attrition and the All-Pay Auction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 343-362, February.
  10. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
  11. Avery, Christopher, 1998. "Strategic Jump Bidding in English Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 185-210, April.
  12. Garrett, Thomas A. & Sobel, Russell S., 1999. "Gamblers favor skewness, not risk: Further evidence from United States' lottery games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 85-90, April.
  13. Val E. Lambson & Norman K Thurston, 2006. "Sequential auctions: theory and evidence from the Seattle Fur Exchange," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 70-80, 03.
  14. Enrico Diecidue & Ulrich Schmidt & Peter P. Wakker, 2004. "The Utility of Gambling Reconsidered," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 241-259, December.
  15. Ali, Mukhtar M, 1977. "Probability and Utility Estimates for Racetrack Bettors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(4), pages 803-15, August.
  16. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, . "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  17. Arieh Gavious & Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2002. "Bid Costs and Endogenous Bid Caps," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 709-722, Winter.
  18. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Estimating Preferences under Risk: The Case of Racetrack Bettors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 503-530, June.
  19. Amann, Erwin & Leininger, Wolfgang, 1996. "Asymmetric All-Pay Auctions with Incomplete Information: The Two-Player Case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-18, May.
  20. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian, 1998. "Standard Auctions with Financially Constrained Bidders," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 1-21, January.
  21. Joseph Golec & Maurry Tamarkin, 1998. "Bettors Love Skewness, Not Risk, at the Horse Track," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 205-225, February.
  22. Barut, Yasar & Kovenock, Dan, 1998. "The symmetric multiple prize all-pay auction with complete information," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 627-644, November.
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