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Competitive Bidding Behavior in Uniform-Price Auction Markets

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Abstract

Profit-maximizing bidding in uniform price auction markets involves bidding above marginal cost. It therefore is not surprising that such behavior is observed in electricity markets. Common bidding behavior such as "hockey stick" bids easily are explained by suppliers determining their supply offers to maximize profits. This incentive to bid above marginal cost is not the result of coordinated action among the bidders. Rather, each bidder is independently selecting its bid to maximize profits based on its estimate of the residual demand curve it faces. Profit-maximizing bidding does not mean that "the sky’s the limit." Typically, bidders are limited in how high they want to bid. As prices increase, operators become increasingly concerned that their capacity will not be selected—that someone else will step in front of them in the merit order. Only when (1) demand does not respond to price, and (2) the largest unhedged block of capacity is essential to meet demand can the bidder holding this largest block profitably name any price. In all other cases, the supplier bids a price for its energy capacity to optimize its marginal tradeoff between higher prices and lower quantities. Price response from either demand or other suppliers prevents the supplier from raising its bid too much. Profit maximizing bidding should be expected and encouraged by regulators. It is precisely this profit maximizing behavior that guides the market toward long-run efficient outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Cramton, 2003. "Competitive Bidding Behavior in Uniform-Price Auction Markets," Papers of Peter Cramton 03ferc1, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:03ferc1
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    File URL: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers2000-2004/cramton-bidding-behavior-in-electricity-markets.pdf
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    1. repec:cto:journl:v:21:y:2002:i:3:p:515-544 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. Paul L. Joskow, 1997. "Restructuring, Competition and Regulatory Reform in the U.S. Electricity Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 119-138, Summer.
    4. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1998. "Strategic Bidding in a Multiunit Auction: An Empirical Analysis of Bids to Supply Electricity in England and Wales," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 703-725, Winter.
    5. Bushnell, James & Wolfram, Catherine, 2008. "Electricity Markets," Staff General Research Papers Archive 31547, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-1277, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolosi, S., 2010. "Wind power integration, negative prices and power system flexibility - An empirical analysis of extreme events in Germany," MPRA Paper 31834, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Nicolosi, Marco, 2010. "Wind power integration and power system flexibility-An empirical analysis of extreme events in Germany under the new negative price regime," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7257-7268, November.
    3. Liebl, Dominik, 2010. "Modeling hourly Electricity Spot Market Prices as non stationary functional times series," MPRA Paper 25017, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ali Hortacsu & Steven L. Puller, 2005. "Understanding Strategic Bidding in Restructured Electricity Markets: A Case Study of ERCOT," NBER Working Papers 11123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kim, Hyunsook & Kim, Sung-Soo, 2010. "The optimal fuel mix and redistribution of social surplus in the Korean power market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7929-7938, December.
    6. Maurice Doyon & Lota Dabio Tamini & Virginie Simard & Kent Messer & Harry M. Kaiser, 2006. "L'économie expérimentale pour l'analyse de modifications au système centralisé de vente du quota laitier au Québec," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-23, CIRANO.

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    Keywords

    Auctions; Electricity Auctions; Market Design;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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