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Ascending Auctions

A key question of auction design is whether to use an ascending- bid or a sealed-bid format. The critical distinction between formats is that an ascending auction provides the bidders with information through the process of bidding. This information is a two-edged sword. It may stimulate competition by creating a reliable process of price discovery, by reducing the winner's curse, and by allowing efficient aggregations of items. Alternatively, the information may be used by bidders to establish and enforce collusive outcomes. Ex ante asymmetries and weak competition favor a sealed-bid design. In other cases, an ascending auction is likely to perform better in efficiency and revenue terms. Moreover, information in an ascending auction can be tailored to limit collusion.

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File URL: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers1995-1999/98eer-ascending-auctions.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton in its series Papers of Peter Cramton with number 98eer.

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Length: 12 pages
Date of creation: 28 Jul 1998
Date of revision: 28 Jul 1998
Publication status: Published in European Economic Review, 42:3-5, May 1998, pages 745-756.
Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:98eer
Contact details of provider: Postal: Economics Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7211
Phone: (202) 318-0520
Fax: (202) 318-0520
Web page: http://www.cramton.umd.edu

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  1. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  2. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1998. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 97jems, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  3. Harstad, Ronald M, 1990. "Alternative Common-Value Auction Procedures: Revenue Comparisons with Free Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 421-29, April.
  4. Wilson, Robert, 1979. "Auctions of Shares," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 675-89, November.
  5. 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.
  6. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-64.
  7. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Papers of Peter Cramton 97jemsfcc, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 12 Jul 1998.
  8. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  9. Milgrom, Paul, 1998. "Putting auction theory to work : the simultaneous ascending auction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1986, The World Bank.
  10. Bulow, Jeremy I. & Huang, Ming & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Toeholds and Takeovers," CEPR Discussion Papers 1486, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, Joan G, 1985. "Auction Theory with Private Values," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 150-55, May.
  12. Cramton, Peter C, 1995. "Money Out of Thin Air: The Nationwide Narrowband PCS Auction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 267-343, Summer.
  13. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1997. "Auctioning Securities," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpas, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised Mar 1998.
  14. Klemperer, P., 1997. "Almost Common Value Auctions: The "Wallet Game" and its Applications to Takeover Battles and Airwaves Auctions," Economics Papers 134, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  15. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
  16. Rothkopf, Michael H & Teisberg, Thomas J & Kahn, Edward P, 1990. "Why Are Vickrey Auctions Rare?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 94-109, February.
  17. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 413-38, July.
  18. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
  19. Ian Ayres & Peter Cramton, 1996. "Deficit Reduction Through Diversity: How Affirmative Action at the FCC Increased Auction Competition," Papers of Peter Cramton 96slr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
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