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Auctions vs. Negotiations

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  • Jeremy Bulow
  • Paul Klemperer

Abstract

Which is the more profitable way to sell a company: a public auction or an optimally structured negotiation with a smaller number of bidders? We show that under standard assumptions the public auction is always preferable, even if it forfeits all the seller's negotiating power, including the ability to withdraw the object from sale, provided that it attracts at least one extra bidder. An immediate public auction also dominates negotiating while maintaining the right to hold an auction subsequently with more bidders. The results hold for both the standard independent private values model and a common values model. They suggest that the value of negotiating skill is small relative to the value of additional competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Bulow & Paul Klemperer, 1994. "Auctions vs. Negotiations," NBER Working Papers 4608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4608
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2007. "Auctions and information acquisition: sealed bid or dynamic formats?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(2), pages 355-372, June.
    2. Klemperer, Paul, 2000. "Why every Economist should Learn some Auction Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 2572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Roberto Burguet, 2000. "Auction theory: a guided tour," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 24(1), pages 3-50, January.
    4. Michael Peters, 1997. "Surplus Extraction and Competition," Working Papers peters-97-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    5. Vasiliki Skreta, 2011. "On the informed seller problem: optimal information disclosure," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 15(1), pages 1-36, March.
    6. Michael Peters, 1999. "Competition among mechanism designers in a common value environment," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 4(3), pages 273-292.
    7. Boeheim, Rene & Zulehner, Christine, 1996. "Auctions - A Survey," Economics Series 39, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    8. Vlad Mares & Ronald Harstad, 2007. "Ex-post full surplus extraction, straightforwardly," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(2), pages 399-410, August.
    9. Dengji Zhao, 2021. "Mechanism Design Powered by Social Interactions," Papers 2102.10347, arXiv.org.
    10. Tim Grebe & Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel & Sabine Kröger, 2009. "Buy-it-Now Prices in eBay Auctions-The Field in the Lab," Cahiers de recherche 0950, CIRPEE.
    11. Klemperer, Paul, 2002. "Some Observations on the British and German 3G Telecom Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3605, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. McAfee, R. Preston & Vincent, Daniel, 1997. "Sequentially Optimal Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 246-276, February.
    13. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & Marek Pycia & Marzena Rostek & Marek Weretka, 2014. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1366-1400.
    14. Alexander Galetovic & Juan Ricardo Inostroza, 2004. "Transmisión eléctrica y la “ley corta”: por qué licitar es (mucho) mejor que regular (Electricity transmission and the short law: why offering for tender is [much] better than regulation)," Documentos de Trabajo 177, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    15. 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.
    16. Quintero Jaramillo, Jose E., 2004. "Liquidity constraints and credit subsidies in auctions," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB wb040604, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
    17. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2002. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 74-96, March.
    18. Cramton, Peter & Schwartz, Jesse A, 2000. "Collusive Bidding: Lessons from the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 229-252, May.
    19. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1998. "The Optimality of Being Efficient," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpoe, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 18 Jun 1999.
    20. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1997. "Auctioning Securities," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpas, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised Mar 1998.
    21. World Bank, 2003. "Unsolicited Proposals : The Issues for Private Infrastructure Projects," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11305, The World Bank.
    22. Miguel Vazquez & Michelle Hallack, 2017. "Efficiency versus transaction costs in multidimensional auctions: the case of Brazilian oil and gas lease auctions," IEFE Working Papers 94, IEFE, Center for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    23. Koc, Umit & Erdogdu, Oya Safinaz, 2005. "Türk Telekom A.Ş.’nin Özelleştirilmesi: Oyun Teorisi Perspektifinden Bir Değerlendirme [Privatization of Turkish Telecom Company: An Assessment from Game Theory Perspective]," MPRA Paper 72143, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2004.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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