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Updating the Reserve Price in Common Value Auctions


  • R. Preston McAfee
  • Daniel Vincent


We consider a common value auction model with bidder participation determined jointly by nature and by bidder optimization. In this framework, an increase in the reserve price as two effects: it deters marginal bidders and it deters bidders from becoming informed. We then derive a test statistic for establishing when it is optimal to raise the reserve price. This statistic is independent of the distribution of valuations. We then apply the analysis to U.S. offshore oil sales and find evidence that the reserve price is dramatically too low.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Preston McAfee & Daniel Vincent, 1992. "Updating the Reserve Price in Common Value Auctions," Discussion Papers 977, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:977

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bulow, Jeremy I. & Klemperer, Paul, 1994. "Auctions vs. Negotiations," CEPR Discussion Papers 924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Boeheim, Rene & Zulehner, Christine, 1996. "Auctions - A Survey," Economics Series 39, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    3. Sudip Gupta, 2004. "Endogenous Asymmetry and Entry in Sequential Multi-Unit Auctions: Identification and Estimation," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 566, Econometric Society.
    4. Henderson, Daniel J. & List, John A. & Millimet, Daniel L. & Parmeter, Christopher F. & Price, Michael K., 2012. "Empirical implementation of nonparametric first-price auction models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(1), pages 17-28.
    5. Kenneth Hendricks & Joris Pinkse & Robert H. Porter, 2003. "Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 115-145.
    6. Gerard Marty & Raphaele Preget, 2007. "A Socio-economic Analysis of French Public Timber Sales," Working Papers - Cahiers du LEF 2007-03, Laboratoire d'Economie Forestiere, AgroParisTech-INRA.
    7. Philip A. Haile & Elie Tamer, 2003. "Inference with an Incomplete Model of English Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 1-51, February.
    8. Luciano De Castro, 2010. "Affiliation, Equilibrium Existence and Revenue Ranking of Auctions," Discussion Papers 1530, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    9. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1997. "Game theory and empirical economics: The case of auction data 1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-35, January.
    10. Haile, Philip A., 2000. "Partial Pooling at the Reserve Price in Auctions with Resale Opportunities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 231-248, November.
    11. Porter, Robert H, 1995. "The Role of Information in U.S. Offshore Oil and Gas Lease Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-27, January.
    12. Christopher Boyer & B. Brorsen, 2014. "Implications of a Reserve Price in an Agent-Based Common-Value Auction," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 43(1), pages 33-51, January.
    13. Jason Kuruzovich & Siva Viswanathan & Ritu Agarwal, 2010. "Seller Search and Market Outcomes in Online Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(10), pages 1702-1717, October.
    14. Eklof, Matias & Lunander, Anders, 2003. "Open outcry auctions with secret reserve prices: an empirical application to executive auctions of tenant owner's apartments in Sweden," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 243-260, June.
    15. Jacob K. Goeree & Theo Offerman, 2002. "The Amsterdam Auction," Microeconomics 0205002, EconWPA.
    16. Kosmopoulou, Georgia & De Silva, Dakshina G., 2007. "The effect of shill bidding upon prices: Experimental evidence," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 291-313, April.
    17. Alexander S. Gorbenko & Andrey Malenko, 2011. "Competition among Sellers in Securities Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1806-1841, August.

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