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Common Agency and Coordinated Bids in Sponsored Search Auctions

Author

Listed:
  • Francesco Decarolis

    (Department of Economics and Hariri Institute, Boston University)

  • Maris Goldmanis

    (Department of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London)

  • Antonio Penta

    (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin at Madison)

Abstract

As auctions are becoming the main mechanism for selling advertisement space on the web, marketing agencies specialized in bidding in online auctions are proliferating. We analyze theoretically how bidding delegation to a common marketing agency can undermine both revenues and efficiency of the generalized second price auction, the format used by Google and Microsoft-Yahoo!. Our characterization allows us to quantify the revenue losses relative to both the case of full competition and the case of agency bidding under an alternative auction format (specifically, the VCG mechanism). We propose a simple algorithm that a search engine can use to reduce efficiency and revenue losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Decarolis & Maris Goldmanis & Antonio Penta, 2013. "Common Agency and Coordinated Bids in Sponsored Search Auctions," Working Papers 13-19, NET Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1319
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kenneth Hendricks & Robert H. Porter, 1989. "Collusion in Auctions," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 15-16, pages 217-230.
    2. Francesco Decarolis, 2009. "When the highest bidder loses the auction: theory and evidence from public procurement," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 717, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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    6. Rieko Ishii, 2007. "Collusion in Repeated Procurement Auction: a Study of Paving Market in Japan," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 07-16, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
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      • McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    13. Francesco Decarolis, 2012. "Pricing and Incentives in Publicly Subsidized Health Care Markets: the Case of Medicare Part D," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Decarolis & Maris Goldmanis & Antonio Penta, 2020. "Marketing Agencies and Collusive Bidding in Online Ad Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(10), pages 4433-4454, October.
    2. Elena Krasnokutskaya & Christian Terwiesch & Lucia Tiererova, 2018. "Trading across Borders in Online Auctions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 27-66, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Online Advertising; Internet Auctions; Common Agency;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising

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