The Complete Information First. Price Auction or the Importance of Being Indivisible
Abstract Despite the popularity of auction theoretical thinking, it appears that no one has presented an elementary equilibrium analysis of the first-price sealed-bid auction mechanism under complete information. This paper aims to remedy that omission. We show that the existence of pure strategy undominated Nash equilibria requires that the bidding space is not "too divisible" (that is, a continuum). In fact, when bids must form part of a finite grid there always exists a "high price equilibrium". However, there might also be "low price equilibria" and when the bidding space is very restrictive the revenue obtained in these "low price equilibria" might be very low. We discuss the properties of the equilibria and an application of auction theoretical thinking in which "low price equilibria" may be relevant. Keywords: First-price auctions, undominated Nash equilibria. JEL Classification Numbers: C72 (Noncooperative Games), D44 (Auctions).
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