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Another explanation for overbidding and another bias for underbidding in first-price auctions

  • Oliver Kirchkamp,
  • Philipp Reiß

First-price auction experiments find often substantial overbidding which is typically related to risk aversion. We introduce a model where some bidders use constrained linear bids. As with risk aversion this leads to overbidding if valuations are high, but in contrast to risk aversion the model predicts underbidding if valuations are low. We test this model with the help of experiments, compare bidding in first-price and second-price auctions and study revenue under different treatments. We conclude that at least part of the commonly observed overbidding is an artefact of experimental setups which rule out underbidding. Constrained linear bids seem to fit observations better

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Paper provided by Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm in its series CRIEFF Discussion Papers with number 0606.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:san:crieff:0606
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  1. Cox, James C. & Smith, Vernon L. & Walker, James M., 1983. "Tests of a heterogeneous bidders theory of first price auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 12(3-4), pages 207-212.
  2. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1988. " Theory and Individual Behavior of First-Price Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 61-99, March.
  3. Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Sonsino, Doron, 2004. "Comparative study of one-bid versus two-bid auctions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 561-583, August.
  4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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