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Discrete Rule Learning and the Bidding of the Sexes

  • Shachat, Jason
  • Wei, Lijia

We present a hidden Markov model of discrete strategic heterogeneity and learning in first price independent private values auctions. The model includes three latent bidding rules: constant absolute mark-up, constant percentage mark-up, and strategic best response. Rule switching probabilities depend upon a bidder's past auction outcomes. We apply this model to a new experiment that varies the number of bidders, the auction frame between forward and reverse, and includes the collection of saliva samples - used to measure subjects' sex hormone levels. We find the proportion of bidders following constant absolute mark-up increases with experience, particularly when the number of bidders is large. The primary driver here is subjects' increased propensity to switch strategies when they experience a loss (win) reinforcement when following a strategic (heuristic) rule. This affect is stronger for women and leads them spend more time following boundedly rational rules. We also find women in the Luteal and Menstrual phases of their menstrual cycle bid less aggressively, in terms of surplus demanded, when following the best response rule. This combined with spending more time following simple rules of thumbs explains gender differences in earnings.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 47953.

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Date of creation: 02 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47953
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  1. Vincent P Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Level-k Auctions: Can a Non-Equilibrium Model of Strategic Thinking Explain the Winner's Curse and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions?," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000001005, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Marco Casari & John C. Ham & John H. Kagel, 2007. "Selection Bias, Demographic Effects, and Ability Effects in Common Value Auction Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1278-1304, September.
  3. Jason Shachat, 2009. "Procuring Commodities: First Price Sealed Bid or English Auction?," Working Papers 0901, Xiamen Unversity, The Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics, Finance and Economics Experimental Laboratory, revised 26 Apr 2010.
  4. Mark Isaac & Svetlana Pevnitskaya & Kurt S. Schnier, 2012. "Individual Behavior And Bidding Heterogeneity In Sealed Bid Auctions Where The Number Of Bidders Is Unknown," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(2), pages 516-533, 04.
  5. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2013. "Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck," Discussion Papers 2013001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  6. Neugebauer, Tibor & Selten, Reinhard, 2006. "Individual behavior of first-price auctions: The importance of information feedback in computerized experimental markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 183-204, January.
  7. Matthew Pearson & Burkhard C. Schipper, 2009. "Menstrual Cycle and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 911, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  8. Filardo, Andrew J. & Gordon, Stephen F., 1998. "Business cycle durations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-123, July.
  9. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Goeree, Jacob & Holt, Charles, 2000. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-value Auctions," Working Papers 1073, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  10. Kagel, J.H. & Levin, D., 1988. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behavior In First, Second And Third-Price Auctions With Varying Numbers Of Bidders," Papers 13, Houston - Department of Economics.
  11. John F. Geweke, 1991. "Evaluating the accuracy of sampling-based approaches to the calculation of posterior moments," Staff Report 148, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  13. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  14. Yan Chen & Peter Katuscak & Emre Ozdenoren, 2005. "Why Can’t a Woman Bid More Like a Man?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp275, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  15. Güth, Werner & Ivanova, Radosveta & Königstein, Manfred & Strobel, Martin, 1999. "Learning to bid: An experimental study of bid function adjustments in auctions and fair division games," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,70, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  16. Oliver Kirchkamp & J. Philipp Reiß, 2008. "Heterogeneous bids in auctions with rational and markdown bidders - Theory and Experiment," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-066, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  17. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  18. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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