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An experimental test of precautionary bidding

  • Martin G. Kocher

    (School of Economics, University of East Anglia)

  • Julius Pahlke

    (Department of Economics, University of Munich)

  • Stefan T. Trautmann

    (CentER, Tilburg University)

Auctions often involve goods exhibiting a common knowledge ex-post risk that is independent of buyers' private values or their signals regarding common value components. Eso and White (2004) showed theoretically that ex-post risk leads to precautionary bidding for DARA bidders: Agents reduce their bids by more than their appropriate risk premium. Testing precautionary bidding with data from the field seems almost impossible. We conduct experimental first-price auctions that allow us to directly identify the precautionary premium and find clear evidence for precautionary bidding. Bidders are significantly better off when a risky object rather than an equally valued sure object is auctioned. Our results are robust if we control for potentially confounding decision biases.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 10-08.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:10-08
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2002. "Do workers work more if wages are high? Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00240, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
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  9. Levy, Haim, 1994. "Absolute and Relative Risk Aversion: An Experimental Study," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 289-307, May.
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  12. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
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