IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Efficiency in Auctions with Private and Common Values: An Experimental Study

  • Jacob K. Goeree


  • Theo Offerman

Auctions generally do not lead to efficient outcomes when the expected value of the object for sale depends on both private and common value information. We report a series of first-price auction experiments to test three key predictions of auctions with private and common values: (i) inefficiencies grow with the uncertainty about the common value while revenues fall, (ii) increased competition results in more efficient outcomes and higher revenues, and (iii) revenues and efficiency are higher when information about the common value is publicly released. We compare the predictions of several bidding models, including Nash, when examining these issues. A model in which a fraction of the bidders falls prey to a winner’s curse and decision-making is noisy, best describes bidding behavior. We find that revenues and efficiency are positively affected by increased competition and a reduction in uncertainty about the common value. The public release of high-quality information about the common value also has positive effects on efficiency, although less so than predicted by Nash equilibrium bidding.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Virginia, Department of Economics in its series Virginia Economics Online Papers with number 347.

in new window

Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vir:virpap:347
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Goeree, Jacob K. & Offerman, Theo, 2003. "Winner's curse without overbidding," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 625-644, August.
  2. Forsythe, Robert & Isaac, R. Mark & Palfrey, Thomas R., 1987. "Theories and Tests of (Blind Bidding) in Sealed Bid Auctions," Working Papers 670, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. John H. Kagel & Colin M. Campbell & Dan Levin, 1999. "The Winner's Curse and Public Information in Common Value Auctions: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 325-334, March.
  4. Anderson, Matthew J. & Sunder, Shyam, 1995. "Professional Traders as Intuitive Bayesians," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 185-202, November.
  5. repec:oup:restud:v:44:y:1977:i:3:p:511-18 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Klemperer, Paul, 1998. "Auctions with almost common values: The 'Wallet Game' and its applications," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 757-769, May.
  7. Levin, Dan & Kagel, John H & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1996. "Revenue Effects and Information Processing in English Common Value Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 442-60, June.
  8. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  9. Dyer, Douglas & Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1989. "A Comparison of Naive and Experienced Bidders in Common Value Offer Auctions: A Laboratory Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 108-15, March.
  10. Christopher Avery & John H. Kagel, 1997. "Second-Price Auctions with Asymmetric Payoffs: An Experimental Investigation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 573-603, 09.
  11. Jacob K. Goeree & Theo Offerman, 2003. "Competitive Bidding in Auctions with Private and Common Values," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 598-613, 07.
  12. Jeremy Bulow & Ming Huang & Paul Klemperer, 1999. "Toeholds and Takeovers," Finance 9903005, EconWPA.
  13. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Jeroen M. Swinkels, 1996. "Efficiency and Information Aggregation in Auctions," Discussion Papers 1168, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Orley Ashenfelter & David Genesove, 1992. "Testing for Price Anomalies in Real Estate Auctions," NBER Working Papers 4036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Abbink, Klaus & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1995. "RatImage - research Assistance Toolbox for Computer-Aided Human Behavior Experiments," Discussion Paper Serie B 325, University of Bonn, Germany.
  16. Jehiel, Phillipe & Moldovanu, Benny, 1998. "Efficient Design with Interdependent Valuations," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 98-22, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  17. Paul Klemperer & Jeremy Bulow, 1998. "Prices and the Winners Curse," Economics Series Working Papers 1998-W02, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  18. Camerer, Colin & Loewenstein, George & Weber, Martin, 1989. "The Curse of Knowledge in Economic Settings: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1232-54, October.
  19. Lind, Barry & Plott, Charles R, 1991. "The Winner's Curse: Experiments with Buyers and with Sellers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 335-46, March.
  20. Roll, Richard, 1986. "The Hubris Hypothesis of Corporate Takeovers," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 197-216, April.
  21. Camerer, Colin F, 1987. "Do Biases in Probability Judgment Matter in Markets? Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 981-97, December.
  22. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:2:p:341-388 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Kirchkamp, Oliver & Moldovanu, Benny, 2004. "An experimental analysis of auctions with interdependent valuations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 54-85, July.
  24. Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: The Winner's Curse," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 191-202, Winter.
  25. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  26. Samuel H. Dinkin & James C. Cox & Vernon L. Smith, 1999. "The Winner's Curse and Public Information in Common Value Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 319-324, March.
  27. Selten, Reinhard & Joachim Buchta, 1994. "Experimental Sealed Bid First Price Auctions with Directly Observed Bid Functions," Discussion Paper Serie B 270, University of Bonn, Germany.
  28. Garvin, Susan & Kagel, John H., 1994. "Learning in common value auctions: Some initial observations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 351-372, December.
  29. James Cox & Sam Dinkin & James Swarthout, 2001. "Endogenous Entry and Exit in Common Value Auctions," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 163-181, October.
  30. Kagel, John H, et al, 1989. "First-Price Common Value Auctions: Bidder Behavior and the "Winner's Curse."," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(2), pages 241-58, April.
  31. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
  32. Ganguly, Ananda R & Kagel, John H & Moser, Donald V, 2000. " Do Asset Market Prices Reflect Traders' Judgment Biases?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 219-45, May.
  33. John H. Kagel & Dan Levin, 1999. "Common Value Auctions with Insider Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1219-1238, September.
  34. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Riley, John G., 1991. "Equilibria in open common value auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 101-130, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:vir:virpap:347. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Debby Stanford)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.