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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 Nonequilibrium Model of Strategic Thinking Explain the Winner's Curse and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1721-1770, November.
  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. Matthew Pearson & Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Menstrual Cycle and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 1110, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Gordon, S.F. & Filardo, A.J., 1993. "Business Cycle Durations," Papers 9328, Laval - Recherche en Politique Economique.
  6. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1993. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behaviour in First-, Second- and Third-Price Auctions with Varying Numbers of Bidders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(419), pages 868-79, July.
  7. 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.
  8. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria, 2012. "Gender differences and dynamics in competition: the role of luck," MPRA Paper 38220, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. R. Mark Isaac & Svetlana Pevnitskaya & Kurt Schnier, 2008. "Individual Behaavior and Bidding Heterogeneity in Sealed Bid Auctions Where the Number of Bidders is Unknown," Working Papers wp2008_07_02, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  10. 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.
  11. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2000. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions," Virginia Economics Online Papers 345, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Chen, Yan & Katuščák, Peter & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2013. "Why canʼt a woman bid more like a man?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 181-213.
  15. Jason Shachat & Lijia Wei, 2012. "Procuring Commodities: First-Price Sealed-Bid or English Auctions?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 317-333, March.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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