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Are Structural Estimates of Auction Models Reasonable? Evidence from Experimental Data

  • Patrick Bajari
  • Ali Hortacsu

February 2003 Recently, economists have developed methods for structural estimation of auction models. Many researchers object to these methods because they find the rationality assumptions used in these models to be implausible. In this paper, we explore whether structural auction models can generate reasonable estimates of bidders’ private information. Using bid data from auction experiments, we estimate four alternative structural models of bidding in first-price sealed-bid auctions: 1) risk neutral Bayes-Nash, 2) risk averse Bayes-Nash, 3) a model of learning and 4) a quantal response model of bidding. For each model, we compare the estimated valuations and the valuations assigned to bidders in the experiments. We find that a slight modification of Guerre, Perrigne and Vuong’s (2000) procedure for estimating the risk neutral Bayes-Nash model to allow for bidder asymmetries generates quite reasonable estimates of the structural parameters. Working Papers Index

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Paper provided by Stanford University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 03002.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:03002
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  1. Cox, James C. & Smith, Vernon L. & Walker, James M., 1983. "A test that discriminates between two models of the Dutch-first auction non-isomorphism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(2-3), pages 205-219.
  2. Harrison, Glenn W, 1989. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 749-62, September.
  3. Cox, James C. & Smith, Vernon L. & Walker, James M., 1983. "Tests of a heterogeneous bidders theory of first price auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 12(3-4), pages 207-212.
  4. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 413-38, July.
  5. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  6. Rob Porter, 1999. "Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions," Working papers 99-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1392-412, December.
  8. C. Monica Capra & Jacob K Goeree & Rosario Gomez & Charles A Holt, 2002. "Learning and Noisy Equilibrium Behavior in an Experimental Study of Imperfect Price Competition," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 613-636, August.
  9. Bernard ELYAKIME & Jean-Jacques LAFFONT & Patrice LOISEL & Quang VUONG, 1994. "First-Price Sealed-Bid Auctions with Secret Reservation Prices," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 34, pages 115-141.
  10. Paarsch, Harry J., 1992. "Deciding between the common and private value paradigms in empirical models of auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 191-215.
  11. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1989. "Convergence of Least-Squares Learning in Environments with Hidden State Variables and Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1306-22, December.
  12. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Ossard, Hervé & Vuong, Quang, 1991. "Econometrics of First-Price Auctions," IDEI Working Papers 7, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  13. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 247-272, May.
  14. Merlo, Antonio & Schotter, Andrew, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1413-25, December.
  15. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Discussion Papers 447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Harrison, Glenn W, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1426-43, December.
  17. Donald, Stephen G. & Paarsch, Harry J., 1996. "Identification, Estimation, and Testing in Parametric Empirical Models of Auctions within the Independent Private Values Paradigm," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 517-567, August.
  18. Emmanuel Guerre & Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2000. "Optimal Nonparametric Estimation of First-Price Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 525-574, May.
  19. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  20. Kagel, John H & Roth, Alvin E, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior in First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1379-91, December.
  21. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Vuong, Quang, 1996. "Structural Analysis of Auction Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 414-20, May.
  22. Friedman, Daniel, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1374-78, December.
  23. Dyer, D. & Kagel, J.H. & Levin, D., 1988. "A Comparison Of Naive And Experienced Bidders In Common Value Offer Auctions A Laboratory Analysis," Papers 11, Houston - Department of Economics.
  24. Donald, S.G. & Paarsch, H.J., 1993. "Identification, Estimation, and Testing in Empirical Models of Auction Within the Independent Private Values Paradigm," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9319, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  25. repec:cup:etheor:v:12:y:1996:i:3:p:517-67 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Equilibrium in Sealed High Bid Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 439-54, July.
  27. Charles A. Holt & Jacob K. Goeree, 1999. "Stochastic Game Theory: For Playing Games, Not Just for Doing Theory," Virginia Economics Online Papers 306, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  28. Thomas Palfrey, 2002. "Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private Value Auctions," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000089, UCLA Department of Economics.
  29. Donald, Stephen G & Paarsch, Harry J, 1993. "Piecewise Pseudo-maximum Likelihood Estimation in Empirical Models of Auctions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 121-48, February.
  30. Jofre-Bonet, Mireia & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2000. "Bidding behavior in a repeated procurement auction: A summary," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1006-1020, May.
  31. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1988. " Theory and Individual Behavior of First-Price Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 61-99, March.
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