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Do Auctions select Efficient Firms?

Listed author(s):
  • Maarten C.W. Janssen

    ()

    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Vladimir A. Karamychev

    ()

    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

This discussion paper led to a publication in 'The Economic Journal' , 120(549) 1319-44. This paper considers a government auctioning off multiple licenses to firms who compete in a market after the auction. Firms have different costs, and cost efficiency is private information at the auction stage and the market competition stage. If only one license is auctioned, standard results say that the most efficient firm wins the auction (license) as it will get the highest profit in the aftermarket, i.e., it has the highest valuation for the license. This paper argues that this result does not generalize to the case of multiple licenses and aftermarket competition. In particular, we determine conditions under which auctions may select inefficient firms and therefore lead to an inefficient allocation of resources. Strategic interactions in the aftermarket, in particular firms’ preferences to compete with the least cost-efficient firms rather than with the most efficient firms, are responsible for our result.

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Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 07-001/1.

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Date of creation: 04 Jan 2007
Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20070001
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  1. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1996. "How (Not) to Sell Nuclear Weapons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 814-829, September.
  2. Paul Klemperer, 2002. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 169-189, Winter.
  3. Janssen, Maarten C.W., 2006. "Auctions as coordination devices," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 517-532, April.
  4. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2002. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 74-96, March.
  5. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  6. Klemperer, Paul, 2002. "How (not) to run auctions: The European 3G telecom auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 829-845, May.
  7. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 1996. "Strategic Nonparticipation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 84-98, Spring.
  8. Heidrun C. Hoppe & Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2006. "License Auctions and Market Structure," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 371-396, 06.
  9. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2003. "An economic perspective on auctions," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(36), pages 269-308, April.
  10. Lawrence M. Ausubel, 2004. "An Efficient Ascending-Bid Auction for Multiple Objects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1452-1475, December.
  11. Janssen, Maarten C.W. & Karamychev, Vladimir A., 2007. "Selection effects in auctions for monopoly rights," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 576-582, May.
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