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Bidding Dynamics in Auctions


  • Hugo Hopenhayn
  • Maryam Saeedi


This paper studies bidding dynamics where values and bidding opportunities follow an unrestricted joint Markov process, independent across agents. Bids cannot be retracted, as is frequently the case in auctions. Our main methodological contribution is that we construct a mapping from this general stochastic process into a distribution of values that is independent of the type of auction considered. The equilibria of a static auction with this distribution of values is used to characterize the equilibria of the dynamic auction, making this general class very tractable. As a result of the option of future rebidding, early bids are shaded and under mild conditions increase toward the end of the auction. Our results are consistent with repeated bidding and skewness of the time distribution of winning bids, two puzzling observations in dynamic auctions. As an application, we estimate the model by matching moments from eBay auctions.

Suggested Citation

  • Hugo Hopenhayn & Maryam Saeedi, 2016. "Bidding Dynamics in Auctions," NBER Working Papers 22716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22716
    Note: IO

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tilman Börgers & Christian Dustmann, 2005. "Strange Bids: Bidding Behaviour in the United Kingdom's Third Generation Spectrum Auction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 551-578, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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