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Risk Aversion and Optimal Reserve Prices in First and Second-Price Auctions

Author

Listed:
  • Audrey Hu

    () (Tinbergen Institute, University of Amsterdam)

  • Steven A. Matthews

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Liang Zou

    () (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of buyer and seller risk aversion in first and second-price auctions. The setting is the classic one of symmetric and independent private values, with ex ante homogeneous bidders. However, the seller is able to optimally set the reserve price. In both auctions the seller’s optimal reserve price is shown to decrease in his own risk aversion, and more so in the first-price auction. Thus, greater seller risk aversion increases the ex post efficiency of both auctions, and especially that of the first-price auction. The seller’s optimal reserve price in the first-price, but not in the second-price, auction decreases in the buyers’ risk aversion. Thus, greater buyer risk aversion also increases the ex post efficiency of the first but not the second-price auction. At the interim stage, the first-price auction is preferred by all buyer types in a lower interval, as well as by the seller.

Suggested Citation

  • Audrey Hu & Steven A. Matthews & Liang Zou, 2009. "Risk Aversion and Optimal Reserve Prices in First and Second-Price Auctions," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:09-016
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    File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/09-016.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521536721, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Federico Zincenko, 2016. "Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions with Risk-Averse Bidders," Working Paper 5855, Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh.
    2. Baisa, Brian, 2017. "Auction design without quasilinear preferences," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(1), January.
    3. Hu, Audrey & Zou, Liang, 2015. "Sequential auctions, price trends, and risk preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PA), pages 319-335.
    4. Brunner, Christoph & Hu, Audrey & Oechssler, Jörg, 2014. "Premium auctions and risk preferences: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 467-484.
    5. Bettina Klose & Paul Schweinzer, 2012. "Auctioning risk: The all-pay auction under mean-variance preferences," Discussion Papers 12/32, Department of Economics, University of York.
    6. Hu, Audrey, 2011. "How bidder's number affects optimal reserve price in first-price auctions under risk aversion," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 29-31, October.
    7. Moreno, Diego & Wooders, John, 2017. "Reserve prices in auctions with entry when the seller is risk-averse," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 6-9.
    8. Matthews, Steven, 1987. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Point of View," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 633-646, May.
    9. Audrey Hu & Theo Offerman & Liang Zou, 2014. "How Risk Sharing may enhance Efficiency in English Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-015/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Hu, Audrey & Offerman, Theo & Zou, Liang, 2011. "Premium auctions and risk preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2420-2439.
    11. Kim, Dong-Hyuk, 2015. "Nonparametric estimation of utility function in first-price sealed-bid auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 101-106.
    12. Eric Maskin & John G. Riley, 1981. "The Gains to Making Losers Pay in High Bid Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 198, UCLA Department of Economics.
    13. Audrey Hu & Liang Zou, 2014. "Sequential Auctions, Price Trends, and Risk Preferences," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-139/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    14. Simon Loertscher & Andras Niedermayer, 2012. "Fee-Setting Mechanisms: On Optimal Pricing by Intermediaries and Indirect Taxation," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1162, The University of Melbourne.
    15. Nathalie Gimenes, 2014. "Econometrics of Ascending Auctions by Quantile Regression," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2014_25, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    16. Ehud Kalai & Dov Samet, 1986. "Are Bayesian-Nash Incentives and Implementations Perfect?," Discussion Papers 680, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    17. repec:the:publsh:1824 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    first-price auction; second-price auction; risk aversion; reserve price;

    JEL classification:

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

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