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Lowest Unique Bid Auctions over the Internet: Ability, Lottery or Scam?

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  • Andrea Gallice

    ()

Abstract

A lowest unique bid auction allocates a good to the agent who submits the lowest bid that is not matched by any other bid. This peculiar auction format is getting increasingly popular over the internet. We show that such a selling mechanism is unprofitable if bidders are rational but can become highly lucrative if bidders are myopic. In this second case, we analyze the key role played by the existence of some private signals that the seller sends to the bidders. Data about actual auctions confirm the profitability of the mechanism and the bounded rationality of the bidders.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Gallice, 2008. "Lowest Unique Bid Auctions over the Internet: Ability, Lottery or Scam?," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 0608, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:depfid:0608
    as

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    File URL: http://repec.deps.unisi.it/depfid/text608.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1093-1103, September.
    2. Krishna, Vijay, 2009. "Auction Theory," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780123745071.
    3. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. " Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 227-286, July.
    4. Eichberger, Jürgen & Vinogradov, Dmitri, 2015. "Lowest-Unmatched Price Auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-17.
    5. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Fatal Attraction: Salience, Naïveté, and Sophistication in Experimental "Hide-and-Seek" Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1731-1750, December.
    6. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-1326, December.
    7. Raviv, Yaron & Virag, Gabor, 2009. "Gambling by auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 369-378, May.
    8. Robert Ostling & Joseph T Wang & Eileen Chou & Colin F Camerer, 2007. "Field and Lab Convergence in Poisson LUPI games," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001530, UCLA Department of Economics.
    9. Rapoport, Amnon & Otsubo, Hironori & Kim, Bora & Stein, William E., 2007. "Unique bid auctions: Equilibrium solutions and experimental evidence," MPRA Paper 4185, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 17 Jul 2007.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lowest Unique Bid Auctions; Signals; Bounded Rationality.;

    JEL classification:

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

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