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Aversion to Price Risk and the Afternoon Effect

  • Mezzetti, Claudio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Many empirical studies of auctions show that prices of identical goods sold sequentially follow a declining path. Declining prices have been viewed as an anomaly, because the theoretical models of auctions predict that the price sequence should either be a martingale (with independent signals and no informational externalities), or a submartingale (with a¢ liated signals). This paper shows that declining prices, the afternoon effect, arise naturally when bidders are averse to price risk. A bidder is averse to price risk if he prefers to win an object at a certain price, rather than at a random price with the same expected value. When bidders have independent signals and there are no informational externalities, only the effect of aversion to price risk is present and the price sequence is a supermartingale. When there are informational externalities, even with independent signals, there is a countervailing, informational effect, which pushes prices to raise along the path of a sequential auction. This may help explaining the more complex price paths we observe in some auctions

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 857.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:857
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  1. Black, Jane & De Meza, David, 1992. "Systematic Price Differences between Successive Auctions Are No Anomaly," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(4), pages 607-28, Winter.
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  15. repec:att:wimass:9215 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Victor Ginsburgh & Jan van Ours, 2007. "How to organize a sequential auction: results of a natural experiment by Christie's," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5255, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  20. Chanel, O. & Gerard-Varet, L.A., 1996. "Auction Theory and Practice Evidence from the Market for Jewellery," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 96b05, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
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