Reserve prices in auctions as reference points
Abstract We consider second-price and first-price auctions in the symmetric independent private values framework. We modify the standard model by the assumption that the bidders have reference-based utility, where the reserve price (minimum bid) plays the role of the reference point. In contrast to the usual result, the sellerâ€™s optimal reserve price is increasing in the number of bidders. Even if an individual bidder perceives only a very small utility loss when he has to pay more than the reserve price, the impact on the optimal reserve price can be strong when there are many bidders. Keywords: Auction theory; reference-dependent utility; reserve prices
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