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Identifying Collusion in English Auctions

Author

Listed:
  • Kaplan, Uma
  • Marmer, Vadim
  • Shneyerov, Artyom

Abstract

We develop a fully nonparametric identification framework and a test of collusion in ascending bid auctions. Assuming efficient collusion, we show that the underlying distributions of values can be identified despite collusive behaviour when there is at least one bidder outside the cartel. We propose a nonparametric estimation procedure for the distributions of values and a bootstrap test of the null hypothesis of competitive behaviour against the alternative of collusion. Our framework allows for asymmetric bidders, and the test can be performed on individual bidders. The test is applied to the Guaranteed Investment Certificate auctions conducted by US municipalities over the Internet. Despite the fact that there have been allegations of collusion in this market, our test does not detect deviations from competition. A plausible explanation of this finding is that the Internet auction design involves very limited information disclosure.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaplan, Uma & Marmer, Vadim & Shneyerov, Artyom, 2016. "Identifying Collusion in English Auctions," Microeconomics.ca working papers vadim_marmer-2016-3, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 08 Jul 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:pmicro:vadim_marmer-2016-3
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    File URL: https://microeconomics.ca/archive/vadim_marmer/collusion06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
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    3. Philip A. Haile & Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2003. "Nonparametric Tests for Common Values in First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1445, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    6. Patrick Bajari & Lixin Ye, 2003. "Deciding Between Competition and Collusion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 971-989, November.
    7. Aryal, Gaurab & Gabrielli, Maria F., 2013. "Testing for collusion in asymmetric first-price auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 26-35.
    8. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    English auctions; identification; collusion; nonparametric estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C57 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Econometrics of Games and Auctions

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