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Inference of Bidders’ Risk Attitudes in Ascending Auctions with Endogenous Entry

  • Hanming Fang

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Xun Tang

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

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    Bidders’ risk attitudes have key implications for choices of revenue-maximizing auction formats. In ascending auctions, bid distributions do not provide information about risk preference. We infer risk attitudes using distributions of transaction prices and participation decisions in ascending auctions with entry costs. Nonparametric tests are proposed for two distinct scenarios: first, the expected entry cost can be consistently estimated from data; second, the data does not report entry costs but contains exogenous variations of potential competition and auction characteristics. In the first scenario, we exploit the fact that the risk premium required for entry - the difference between ex ante expected profits from entry and the certainty equivalent .is strictly positive if and only if bidders are risk averse. Our test is based on identification of bidders’ ex ante profits. In the second scenario, our test builds on the fact that risk attitudes affect how equilibrium entry probabilities vary with observed auction characteristics and potential competition. We also show identification of risk attitudes in a more general model of ascending auctions with selective entry, where bidders receive entry-stage signals that are correlated with private values.

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    File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/13-056.pdf
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    Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 13-056.

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    Length: 57 pages
    Date of creation: 09 Sep 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:13-056
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    1. Matthews, Steven, 1987. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Point of View," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 633-46, May.
    2. James W. Roberts & Andrew Sweeting, 2010. "Bailouts and the Preservation of Competition," NBER Working Papers 16650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2009. "Nonparametric Identification of Risk Aversion in First-Price Auctions Under Exclusion Restrictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1193-1227, 07.
    4. Ye, Lixin, 2007. "Indicative bidding and a theory of two-stage auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 181-207, January.
    5. Marmer, Vadim & Shneyerov, Artyom & Xu, Pai, 2013. "What model for entry in first-price auctions? A nonparametric approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 176(1), pages 46-58.
    6. Susan Athey & Jonathan Levin & Enrique Seira, 2008. "Comparing Open and Sealed Bid Auctions: Evidence from Timber Auctions," NBER Working Papers 14590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Lu, Jingfeng & Perrigne, Isabelle, 2006. "Estimating risk aversion from ascending and sealed-bid auctions: the case of timber auction data," MPRA Paper 948, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Tong Li, 2005. "Econometrics of first-price auctions with entry and binding reservation prices," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 173-200, May.
    9. Andrés Aradillas‐López & Amit Gandhi & Daniel Quint, 2013. "Identification and Inference in Ascending Auctions With Correlated Private Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(2), pages 489-534, 03.
    10. Jun, Sung Jae & Pinkse, Joris & Wan, Yuanyuan, 2010. "A consistent nonparametric test of affiliation in auction models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 159(1), pages 46-54, November.
    11. Elena Krasnokutskaya & Katja Seim, 2011. "Bid Preference Programs and Participation in Highway Procurement Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2653-86, October.
    12. Smith, James L. & Levin, Dan, 1996. "Ranking Auctions with Risk Averse Bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 549-561, February.
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