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Rational Participation Revolutionizes Auction Theory

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Abstract

Potential bidders respond to a seller's choice of auction mechanism for a common-value or affiliated-values asset by endogenous decisions whether to incur a participation cost (and observe a private signal), or forego competing. Privately informed participants decide whether to incur a bid-preparation cost and pay an entry fee, or cease competing. Auction rules and information flows are quite general; participation decisions may be simultaneous or sequential. The resulting revenue identity for any auction mechanism implies that optimal auctions are allocatively efficient; a nontrivial reserve price is revenue-inferior for any common-value auction. Optimal auctions are otherwise contentless: any auction that sells without reserve becomes optimal by adjusting any one of the continuous, spanning parameters, e.g., the entry fee. Seller.s surplus-extracting tools are now substitutes, not complements. Many econometric studies of auction markets are seen to be flawed in their identification of the number of bidders.

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  • Ronald M. Harstad, 2005. "Rational Participation Revolutionizes Auction Theory," Working Papers 0518, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0518
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vlad Mares & Ronald Harstad, 2007. "Ex-post full surplus extraction, straightforwardly," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(2), pages 399-410, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal Auctions; Endegenous Bidder Participation; Affiliated-Values; Common-Value Auctions; Surplus-Extracting Devices;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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