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Bimodal Bidding in Experimental All-Pay Auctions

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  • Christiane Ernst

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  • Christian Thöni

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Abstract

We report results from experimental first-price, sealed-bid, all-pay auctions for a good with a common and known value. We observe bidding strategies in groups of two and three bidders and under two extreme information conditions. As predicted by the Nash equilibrium, subjects use mixed strategies. In contrast to the prediction under standard assumptions bids are drawn from a bimodal distribution: very high and very low bids are much more frequent than intermediate bids. Standard risk preferences cannot account for our results. However, bidding behavior is consistent with the predictions of a model with reference dependent preferences as proposed by the prospect theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiane Ernst & Christian Thöni, 2009. "Bimodal Bidding in Experimental All-Pay Auctions," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2009 2009-25, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2009:2009-25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. DavidJ. Cooper & Hanming Fang, 2008. "Understanding Overbidding In Second Price Auctions: An Experimental Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1572-1595, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2015. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 609-669, December.
    2. Baptiste Massenot & Maria Maraki & Christian Thoeni, 2016. "Legal compliance and litigation spending under the English and American rule: Experimental evidence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 16.19, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    3. Fehr, Dietmar & Schmid, Julia, 2014. "Exclusion in the all-pay auction: An experimental investigation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2014-206, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. Gelder, Alan & Kovenock, Dan, 2017. "Dynamic behavior and player types in majoritarian multi-battle contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 444-455.
    5. Gelder, Alan & Kovenock, Dan & Sheremeta, Roman, 2015. "Behavior in All-Pay Auctions with Ties," MPRA Paper 67517, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Astrid, Gamba & Luca, Stanca, 2016. "Mis-Judging Merit: The Effects of Adjudication Errors in Contests," Working Papers 345, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 14 Jul 2016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    All-pay Auction; Prospect Theory; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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