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When Should Sellers Use Auctions?

  • James W. Roberts
  • Andrew Sweeting

A bidding process can be organized so that offers are submitted simultaneously or sequentially. In the latter case, potential buyers can condition their behavior on previous entrants' decisions. The relative performance of these mechanisms is investigated when entry is costly and selective, meaning that potential buyers with higher values are more likely to participate. A simple sequential mechanism can give both buyers and sellers significantly higher payoffs than the commonly used simultaneous bid auction. The findings are illustrated with parameters estimated from simultaneous entry USFS timber auctions where our estimates predict that the sequential mechanism would increase revenue and efficiency.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17624.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Publication status: published as “When Should Sellers Use Auctions?” (with Andrew Sweeting). American Economic Review, 103(5) 2013.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17624
Note: IO
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  1. Marmer, Vadim & Shneyerov, Artyom & Xu, Pai, 2007. "What Model for Entry in First-Price Auctions? A Nonparametric Approach," Microeconomics.ca working papers marmer-07-11-22-02-26-44, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 18 Feb 2011.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  3. Daniel A. Ackerberg, 2001. "A New Use of Importance Sampling to Reduce Computational Burden in Simulation Estimation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0273, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Jacques Crémer & Yossi Spiegel & Charles Zheng, 2009. "Auctions with costly information acquisition," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 41-72, January.
  6. Susan Athey & Dominic Coey & Jonathan Levin, 2011. "Set-Asides and Subsidies in Auctions," NBER Working Papers 16851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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 657-99, August.
  8. Elie Tamer & Federico Ciliberto, 2004. "Market Structure and Multiple Equilibria in Airline Markets," 2004 Meeting Papers 52, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  11. Johannes H�rner & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2007. "Costly Signalling in Auctions -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 173-206.
  12. Paarsch, Harry J., 1997. "Deriving an estimate of the optimal reserve price: An application to British Columbian timber sales," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 333-357, June.
  13. Preston McAfee, R. & McMillan, John, 1988. "Search mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 99-123, February.
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