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Anomalies in Auction Choice Behavior

  • Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta
  • Salmon, Timothy C.

Ivanova-Stenzel and Salmon (2004a) established some interesting yet puzzling results regarding bidders’ preferences between auction formats. The finding is that bidders strongly prefer the ascending to the first price sealed bid auction on a ceteris paribus basis but they are not willing to pay up to an entry price for entering into an ascending auction instead of a first price that would equalize the profits between the two. While it was found that risk aversion on the part of the bidders could resolve this anomaly the claim that risk aversion drives overbidding in first price auctions is somewhat controversial. In this study we examine two competing explanations for the observed behavior; loss aversion and “clock aversionâ€, i.e. a dislike for some aspect of the clock based bidding mechanism. We find that neither alternative explanation can account for bidders’ auction choice behavior leaving risk aversion as the only un-falsified hypothesis.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 174.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:174
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7667, David K. Levine.
  5. McAfee, R Preston, 1993. "Mechanism Design by Competing Sellers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(6), pages 1281-1312, November.
  6. Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Salmon, Tim, 2002. "Bidder preferences among auction institutions," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2002,86, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  7. Engelbrecht-Wiggans Richard, 1993. "Optimal Auctions Revisited," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 227-239, April.
  8. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
  9. Steven A. Matthews, 1985. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Pointof View," Discussion Papers 664R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  11. Harstad, Ronald M, 1990. "Alternative Common-Value Auction Procedures: Revenue Comparisons with Free Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 421-29, April.
  12. R. Isaac & Timothy Salmon & Arthur Zillante, 2005. "An experimental test of alternative models of bidding in ascending auctions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 287-313, 06.
  13. Svetlana Pevnitskaya, 2003. "Endogenous Entry in First-Price Private Value Auctions: the Self-Selection Effect," Working Papers 03-03, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  14. Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Salmon, Timothy C., 2006. "Revenue Equivalence Revisited," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 175, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  15. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-72, March.
  16. Ronald Harstad, 2000. "Dominant Strategy Adoption and Bidders' Experience with Pricing Rules," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 261-280, December.
  17. Harrison, Glenn W, 1989. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 749-62, September.
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