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Multi-Unit Auctions to Allocate Water Scarcity Simulating Bidding Behaviour with Agent Based Models

  • Atakelty Hailu

    (School of Agricultural & Resource Economics, Perth,)

  • Sophie Thoyer

    (Agro.M ; UMR LAMETA ; Montpellier, France)

Multi-unit auctions are promising mechanisms for the reallocation of water. The main advantage of such auctions is to avoid the lumpy bid issue. However, there is great uncertainty about the best auction formats when multi-unit auctions are used. The theory can only supply the structural properties of equilibrium strategies and the multiplicity of equilibria makes comparisons across auction formats difficult. Empirical studies and experiments have improved our knowledge of multi- unit auctions but they remain scarce and most experiments are restricted to two bidders and two units. Moreover, they demonstrate that bidders have limited rationality and learn through experience. This paper constructs an agent-based model of bidders to compare the performance of alternative auction formats under circumstances where bidders submit continuous bid supply functions and learn over time to adjust their bids to improve their net incomes. We demonstrate that under the generalized Vickrey, simulated bids converge towards truthful bids as predicted by the theory and that bid shading is the rule for the uniform and discriminatory auctions. Our study allows us to assess the potential gains from agent-based modelling approaches in the assessment of the dynamic performance of multi-unit procurement auctions. Some recommendations on the desirable format of water auctions are provided.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Others with number 0512012.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 20 Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0512012
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 26
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  1. Hailu, Atakelty & Schilizzi, Steven & Thoyer, Sophie, 2005. "Assessing the performance of auctions for the allocation of conservation contracts: Theoretical and computational approaches," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19478, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  2. Swinkels, Jeroen M, 1999. "Asymptotic Efficiency for Discriminatory Private Value Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 509-28, July.
  3. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & Marek Pycia & Marzena Rostek & Marek Weretka, 2014. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1366-1400.
  4. Alsemgeest, P. & Noussair, C. & Olson, M., 1995. "Experimental Comparisons of Auctions Under Single and Multi Unit Demand," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1078, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  5. Chan, Chris & Laplagne, Patrick & Appels, David, 2003. "The Role of Auctions in Allocating Public Resources," Staff Research Papers 31916, Productivity Commission.
  6. Dirk Engelmann & Veronika Grimm, 2006. "Bidding Behavior in Multi-Unit Auctions - An Experimental Investigation," Working Paper Series in Economics 24, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  7. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  8. Cramton, Peter, 1998. "Ascending auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 745-756, May.
  9. Joshua M. Epstein & Robert L. Axtell, 1996. "Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550253, June.
  10. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 2001. "Behavior in Multi-unit Demand Auctions: Experiments with Uniform Price and Dynamic Vickrey Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 413-54, March.
  11. Bower, John & Bunn, Derek, 2001. "Experimental analysis of the efficiency of uniform-price versus discriminatory auctions in the England and Wales electricity market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(3-4), pages 561-592, March.
  12. Andreoni James & Miller John H., 1995. "Auctions with Artificial Adaptive Agents," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 39-64, July.
  13. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & Charles M. Kahn, 1998. "Multi-unit auctions with uniform prices," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 227-258.
  14. Gary Stoneham & Vivek Chaudhri & Arthur Ha & Loris Strappazzon, 2003. "Auctions for conservation contracts: an empirical examination of Victoria's BushTender trial," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 47(4), pages 477-500, December.
  15. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
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