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The Dollar Auction Game: A laboratory comparison between Individuals and Groups

Listed author(s):
  • Morone, Andrea
  • Nuzzo, Simone
  • Caferra, Rocco

By means of a laboratory experiment, this paper aims at studying how individuals and groups behave in a simple game such as the dollar auction. This game is extremely interesting since it induces subjects to fall prey into the paradigm of escalation, which is driven by agents’ commitment to higher and higher bids. Indeed, whenever each participant commits himself to a bid, the lower bidder, moved by the wish to win as well as to defend his prior investment, finds it in his best interest to place a higher bid to overcome his opponent. The latter mechanism may lead subjects to overbid, implying that the winner pays more than the auctioned value. The aim of the paper is to analyze bidder’s behavior, comparing individuals vs. groups’ decisions within the dollar auction framework. We find that groups are closer than individuals to the Nash equilibrium, and that experience reduces the escalation phenomenon, but it has a different impact on winners and losers.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/72608/1/MPRA_paper_72608.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 72608.

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Date of creation: 18 Jul 2016
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:72608
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  1. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher & Sabine Strauss, 2009. "Individuals and teams in auctions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 380-394, April.
  2. Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: The Winner's Curse," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 191-202, Winter.
  3. Migheli, Matteo, 2012. "It is not just escalation: The one dollar game revisited," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 434-438.
  4. Martin Shubik, 1971. "The Dollar Auction game: a paradox in noncooperative behavior and escalation," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 15(1), pages 109-111, March.
  5. Morone, A. & Morone, P. & Germani, A.R., 2014. "Individual and group behaviour in the traveler's dilemma: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-7.
  6. Martin G. Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2005. "The Decision Maker Matters: Individual Versus Group Behaviour in Experimental Beauty-Contest Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 200-223, 01.
  7. RobertS. Shupp & ArlingtonW. Williams, 2008. "Risk preference differentials of small groups and individuals," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 258-283, 01.
  8. David J. Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better Than One? Team versus Individual Play in Signaling Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 477-509, June.
  9. Andrea Morone & Piergiuseppe Morone, 2007. "Guessing Games and People Behaviours: What Can we Learn?," SERIES 0015, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Feb 2007.
  10. 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.
  11. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
  12. Temerario, Tiziana, 2014. "Individual and Group Behaviour Toward Risk: A Short Survey," MPRA Paper 58079, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Blinder, Alan S & Morgan, John, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better than One? Monetary Policy by Committee," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 789-811, October.
  14. A. Morone & P. Morone, 2014. "Estimating individual and group preference functionals using experimental data," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 403-422, October.
  15. Gary Charness & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "Groups Make Better Self-Interested Decisions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 157-176, Summer.
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